Pennsylvania’s Enterprise to Link Information for Children Across Networks

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Data Systems


Pennsylvania’s Enterprise to Link Information for Children Across Networks (PELICAN), created in 2006 by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare and Department of Education, is the state’s 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.).. PELICAN links data on care, education, and workforce services for all of PA’s early learning and education programs (e.g., Head Start, Family Visiting, Pre-K, etc.). It also provides demographic, program, workforce, and individual data by request and data-sharing agreement. Individual data is deidentified through common identifiers. For public use, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning has used PELICAN to create Early Learning Dashboards using demographic and program data related to certification and licensing, early intervention, family engagement, integrated programs, children eligible vs. children served, location density, subsidized child care, and more.

Holman, D., Pennington, A., Schaberg, K., and Rock, A. (2020). Compendium of Administrative Data Sources for Self-Sufficiency Research. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services..
PDG B-5 TA Center. (2021). State Highlight: How Pennsylvania State Leaders Used Data to Distribute CARES Act Funds Equitably During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
LiBetti, A. & Fu, R. (2022). A State Scan of Early Learning Assessments and Data Systems. New America.

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 Pennsylvania

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

Visit the Pennsylvania Profile Here
  • The state population is 12,972,008
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 68%
  • The rural percentage is 23.5%