Rhode Island Data Ecosystem

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Data Systems

Rhode Island

Established in 2016, the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Data Ecosystem is a comprehensive health integrated data systemIntegrated Data System: An integrated data system links individual level data across multiple services and agencies for a larger purpose, including early childhood programs. Source: University of Pennsylvania. (2021) (2010) that includes vital records, child welfare services, and early childhood services (e.g., home visiting, early intervention, child care subsidy, and Head Start). The system functions as a series of data requests and data-sharing agreements across multiple programs and multiple agencies, including the Department of Education. The system shares demographic, program, and individual level data using a unique identifier.

The system is funded through federal Medicaid funds, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act funds, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grants, Preschool Development Grants Birth Through 5, CARES Act funds, and the CDC Health Disparities grant program.

Berkowitz, E. & Jenkins, D. (2021). AISP Case Study: How the Rhode Island EOHHS Ecosystem Leverages Federal Funding to Support State Data Capacity. Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy. University of Pennsylvania.

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 Rhode Island

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

Visit the Rhode Island Profile Here
  • The state population is 1,093,734
  • The number of children age 0-4 is 53,550
  • The rural percentage is 8.9%