Minnesota Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Data Systems


Created in 2016, the Minnesota Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (ECLDS) is an early childhood integrated data systemAn early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS) “collects, integrates, maintains, stores, and reports information from early childhood programs across multiple agencies.” Source: Institute of Education Sciences. (n.d.). that functions as a warehouse. The system stores and integrates deidentified demographic, program, and individual data on publicly funded early childhood programs and services for young children and families (e.g., Birth Records, Child Care Assistance Program, Early Education, Home Visiting, etc.) across Minnesota’s departments of Education, Health, and Human Services. Private data is shared through the agencies’ data-sharing agreements, and public data are reported at an aggregated (grouped) level. The ECLDS acts as a companion to Minnesota’s Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System to create a P-20 system.

The system is funded by federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants and Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants. The ECLDS also receives funds from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as part of statewide longitudinal data system appropriations.

Other sources:
US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Education. (2016). The Integration of Early Childhood Data

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Strong infrastructure and systems – including governance structures and data systems – are key aspects of high-quality early education and care. And research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality early education within a mixed-delivery system; strengthening infrastructure and systems is one important way states and cities can take action to address these needs and accomplish these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) that connect to the need for more robust infrastructure and systems, including data systems:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • We have learned a great deal from this groundbreaking, large-scale study. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about what children, families, and educators need, and about what “works” – for whom and under what circumstances – across all the diverse settings where young children learn and grow.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Minnesota

Context matters. Visit the Minnesota profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Minnesota Profile Here
  • The state population is 5,717,184
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 76%
  • The rural percentage is 28.1%