Imperative #5 Create tools and resources to better coordinate systems that impact early childhood
Summary: Children and families interact with many systems starting from the time a woman gets pregnant through a child's early years. These systems include early childhood care and education, health care, K-3 education, social services, and community development. Throughout the Hope Starts Here Planning process, one theme repeatedly emerged: the need to increase coordination and alignment within and across them. Increasing their coordination would increase their overall efficiency and impact as well as directly support the goals of the four preceding imperatives. However, coordination at that level requires a central mechanism that can catalyze and support alignment efforts, and this does not currently exist in Detroit.
In Detroit today, many disparate systems exist to fill the needs of parents and provide the various needed aspects of Early Childhood Education. While these organizations each have their own rich data systems, with information that ranges from databases of ECE providers to healthcare options for parents of young children to evaluations and scoring ECE provider quality, there is no central coordinating that allows educators and leaders in Detroit to easily access data and information on ECE in one place. A central provider with integrated data systems will increase efficiency and impact among organizations seeking to improve ECE education. (9)
Compiling and centralizing the work of existing ECE providers in the city will fulfill HSH priorities 5.1 and 5.2. This is turn will lead to more efficient and impactful work from ECE providers in the city.
Case Studies and Evaluations (Research):
Minnesota- The state uses a portal with web-based dashboards and reports for both educators, and parents called Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (ECLDS). The program is easy to use and provides resources for policymakers and parents alike to connect with programs that fill their children's needs. An impact evaluation that attempted to determine the effect of the ECLDS found that "the program costs approximately $0.33/participant to maintain, saves staff efforts of approximately $126,360/year toward the cost of producing annual department studies, and saves approximately $1.118M annually in staff time for community assessments conducted across the U.S." making the program a strong investment and a useful tool for parents and educators in the state. (38).
Kent County- First Steps Kent provides integrated data for the county which includes the city of Grand Rapids. They accomplish this by both collecting information from parents, service providers, funders, advocates, and other stakeholders to ensure high-quality programs and services are accessible to families and they are well-coordinated and effective. (39). The county uses this data to build public support for ECE programs and fundings and to conduct research into improving equitable outcomes for young children in the area. (39). Grand Rapids, being the same state, offers a model for Detroit to follow. Although Detroit does is home to significantly more people of color, and has higher rates of poverty, the two cities have access to the same state and federal funding (40).
Iowa- The Iowa Family Support Network provides a coordinated system for intake and referral of families and child healthcare providers (41). The system provides a toll-free number for families and providers can call to be connected with the resources they need. Furthermore, the system is unified statewide offering a coordinated approach to providing resources to families. While Iowa has drastically different demographics than Detroit, the state could offer a model for a unified data system that includes access to healthcare and education resources. Detroit should be sure to include healthcare providers and resources in any coordinated early childhood data system.
Phase One: July 2020 – March 2020 (Str. 11 & 13)
Phase Two: April 2021 – March 2022 (Str. 12)
Foundations, early childhood providers, the health care system, the K-3 system, program, legal and IT leaders from key systems, public and community development initiatives, Detroit Planning Department, workforce and economic development initiatives, efforts to promote safe, healthy neighborhoods, and more.