Created in 2012, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ North Carolina 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.). (NC ECIDS) is a warehouse for data on education, health, and social services provided to children from birth to age 5. The warehouse, which began as a federated system (i.e., a data sharing system that does not consolidate all data in one warehouse), integrates demographic, program, and individual data on education, health, and social services to children birth to age 5 (e.g., data from NC Pre-K, Child Care Financial Assistance, NC Infant Toddler Program, Food and Nutrition Services, Child Protective Services, Work First Family Assistance, Head Start, Preschool Exceptional Children’s Program, etc.). NC ECIDS provides individual data using unique identifiers to agencies or to qualified researchers or institutions that have requested data. It also provides public demographic and program data on the state’s Early Childhood Data Dashboards by program, fiscal year, gender, race, ethnicity, age, and county. NC ECIDS supports the state’s P-20 longitudinal data system.
The system has received federal funds from the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge Grant and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5 (PDG- B-5).
North Carolina Department of Information Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2020). The Roadmap to a North Carolina Longitudinal Data System (NCLDS)
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. (2022). NCDHHS Launches New Integrated Early Childhood Data Dashboards.
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:
Learn More about 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.