The South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council’s Data Governance Work Group has hosted the SC Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS)An 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.). since its creation in 2018. ECIDS currently linking data on early childhood programs and services provided to children under 6 in the state on two specific initiatives. First, the South Carolina Early Learning Extension is adding early childhood services data (e.g., Head Start Grantees, Child Development Education Pilot Program, Vouchers, etc.) from multiple agencies and programs (e.g., The Department of Social Services, Department of Education, First Steps, and Head Start) and the state’s K-12 Statewide Longitudinal Data System through unique identifiers. Second, using data from South Carolina’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, the Palmetto Drive to Five Data Dashboard is linking individual data on services for children and families (e.g., Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, Head Start, and First Steps) to create an unduplicated count of children across agencies. The ECIDS data linking system will eventually become a warehouse that stores consolidated data.
The system was created by legislation in 2018 under §63-11-1725, and is funded by federal grants, including the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant and Preschool Development Grant–Birth Through 5 (PDG B-5).
Justia US Law. (2018). South Carolina Code Section 63-11-1725 (2018) – Advisory council.
New America. (2023). Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems: A South Carolina Case Study.
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.