Linking Early Childhood Data Systems

Have you seen the recent report on the condition of states’ early childhood data systems? The Early Childhood Data Collaborative’s (ECDC) survey shows a disheartening lack of coordination between the programs that collect data on young children: early care and education programs, social services, health services, and the K-12 education system.

Since early childhood data is collected by many different state agencies and then stored in separate databases, getting a clear picture of the state of early childhood education (ECE) programs is tricky. Out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, only one state (Pennsylvania) is linking child-level data both across all ECE programs and to the state’s K-12 database.

What’s the status of early childhood data in New York?

  • Child-level ECE data is not linked across all ECE programs (although the state is working on development of a coordinated data system through the New York Early Childhood Advisory Council).
  • Child-level ECE data is not linked to social services data, and the state has no plans to do so.
  • The state does not perform kindergarten entry assessments to collect information on children’s developmental status and needs.
  • How well child-level ECE data is coordinated with health services and K-12 data is unclear.

ECDC Survey Results


Why do these gaps and disconnections in early childhood data matter so much? Without well-coordinated data between state agencies, it’s more difficult to answer key questions about how well we’re doing at preparing young children for success.

  • How many children have access to high-quality early childhood education?
  • How do the K-12 educational outcomes for those children compare with children who didn’t have access to ECE programs?
  • Which programs demonstrate the greatest success from a longitudinal view, and what characteristics contributed to their success?
  • How is the quality and accessibility of ECE programs changing – for better or for worse?
  • Does a comprehensive picture of all the data on young children reveal trends that should be influencing our ECE policies and programs?

Click here to access the ECDC’s summary of findings, press release, and full report.