In September 2011, Governor Herbert designated the existing Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems State Team to also function as the State Advisory Council on Early Care and Education, resulting in the creation of Early Childhood Utah. The goal of Early Childhood Utah is to support Utah parents in their efforts to ensure that their children enter school healthy and ready to learn.
A statewide data system, Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS), facilitates data sharing and coordination across the state’s early childhood programs with original funding from the HRSA MCH ECCS-CoIIn grant. Additional funders currently include Child Care Development Funds, Kellogg Foundation through UPenn’s ECDataWorks, Heising-Simons through Child Trend’s SHINE project and Utah Department of Education.
Key data from multiple databases and programs (e.g., birth records, , Part C, home visiting, child care, Head Start, and others) are being integrated in one system to address the following broad policy questions:
- Are children birth to age five on track to succeed when they enter school?
- Which children and families are and are not being served by which programs and services?
- What characteristics of programs are associated with positive outcomes for which children?
- What are the education and economic returns on early childhood investments?
- How is data being used now and how will data be used in the future to inform policy and resource decisions?
Children will each be assigned a unique identifier in the data system that will allow children’s educational progress and outcomes to be tracked through the early childhood and public-school systems. This will allow state administrators to obtain an unduplicated count of children receiving early childhood services, will provide a more complete picture of the needs of children and families, and will create opportunities to analyze data for long-term analysis and research purposes.
The goals of Utah ECIDS are to: evaluate long term outcomes for children who participate in early childhood programs; improve child outcomes and the quality of early childhood programs by promoting data-driven decision making; answer key policy questions regarding early childhood programs and services; provide data that is timely, relevant, accessible, and easy to use in order to answer policy questions; and facilitate Utah’s ability to participate in funding opportunities by collecting basic information on children, early childhood professionals, and early childhood programs throughout the state.
The state estimates that Phase 1 of the data implementation system will be complete in November 2018. Phase 1 has centered on collaboration, design, development, testing, and deployment of ECIDS data, including website development and reports. Phase 1 began in September of 2012. The state estimates that Phase 2 will begin in the Fall of 2018 and will concentrate on matching, testing, and validating data between ECIDS and the Utah State Board of Education/Utah Data Research Center. Lastly, the state estimates that Phase 3 will begin in January of 2019 and will focus on integrating data from additional early childhood programs, integrating additional data elements and engaging in data analysis and outcome-based research.
The following programs have participated and/or anticipate participating in Utah’s ECIDS Phase 1:
- Early Head Start and Head Start programs
- United Way of Utah County, Help Me Grow Utah program
- Utah Department of Health, Promoting Developmental Health program (ASQ)
- Utah Department of Health, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program
- Utah Department of Health, IDEA Early Intervention Part C – Baby Watch program
- Utah Department of Workforce Services, Office of Child Care – Child Care Assistance program
- Utah Department of Health, Vital Records Birth Registry
- Utah Department of Health, Vital Records Death Registry
Learn more about Utah and how other states are using MIECHV funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREEs paper, The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Smart Investments Build Strong Systems for Young Children.