Policy Resource

Minnesota Examines Data to Better Understand Families’ Access to Early Childhood Programs

Jun 4, 2018

Minnesota recently analyzed data from the state’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (ECLDS) to assess access to early childhood programs.

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The ECLDS is an integrated data system that links data collected by the state Departments of Education, Human Services, and Health. It was launched in 2016, funded in part through the state’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. Minnesota used the data to look at kindergarteners (from the 2014-2015 class) who had been enrolled in key family support and nutrition programs for low income families to see who participated in the state’s child care subsidy program (CCAP), early childhood family education programs (ECFE), early childhood special education (ECSE), and district preschool before starting school. The report also looks specifically at how children of color access early childhood programs.

The analysis showed that far fewer children accessed these early childhood programs than were eligible, a missed opportunity to support young children’s healthy development. For example, although all children who accessed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and/or food programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), would have been income-eligible to access child care subsidies at some point, only 31% received them. Data also showed that the rate of children of color participating in ECSE is lower than the rate of children of color participating in K-12 special education, indicating a need to target outreach for the program to these communities to ensure eligible children receive services as early as possible. Read the full report to learn more.

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