Data-Informed Policymaking

Data-informed policymaking is using information to help make decisions that guide services and supports for young children and their families. When informed by data, policymaking improves services and outcomes for young children and their families and helps make sure funding and resources are used equitably.

The Anita Zucker Center and our collaborators engage in generating and using policy-relevant data to support informed decisions about early childhood policymaking at local, state and national levels. With continuous support since 2016, our research focuses on helping early childhood leaders to (a) identify important questions, (b) collect and use data to answer those questions and (c) make decisions about how to enhance early childhood policies.

“The maps they created have enabled us to truly examine our community and identify gaps in quality child care.”
Gordon Gillette, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County

“The data provided by [the AZCEECS team] has brought more depth and a broader scope to the data we collect. Having this level of data allows us to make better-informed decisions about the availability/accessibility and level of child care in our community.”
Renee Jaffe, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of Broward County

“We have really appreciated the work that [the AZCEECS team] have done to overlay several pieces of data. ELC Flagler Volusia has been able to use [these] data to inform our discussions with community partners.”
DJ Lebo, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of Flagler Volusia

Center Priorities

Generating Knowledge
Our work on data-informed policymaking has led to guidance at the local, state and national levels in the use of data to make decisions.

Engaging with Partners
Our partnerships with local, state and national agencies to help them use their data to answer important questions about policies.

Preparing Leaders
Our project teams include students and other stakeholders interested in learning more effective ways to use data to inform policymaking. Through their active engagement in our work, these individuals are learning the soft-skills and the technical skills necessary to form and maintain the collaborative partnerships necessary to support data-informed policymaking.

Making an Impact
Early childhood leaders have used our work to increase families’ access to early education and care by directing investment to specific areas in need.

Our Work in Data-Informed Policymaking

The Sunshine State Early Childhood Information Portal

This project involves the development of a statewide early childhood integrated data system that includes administrative data from a variety of agencies from the health, economic and education sectors that support young children and their families within the early childhood mixed delivery system. The primary product is an interactive web portal that presents maps and other data visualization analyses to provide a comprehensive view of the strengths and needs within the state’s system to support data-informed decision-making among state and local policymakers.

Visit the Sunshine Portal here.

  • Funding Source: Florida Division of Early Learning, Florida Department of Education
  • Funding Period: 07/22/2020-06/30/2023
  • Funding Number: SR662

Team:

Economic Self Sufficiency Analysis

This project involves the development of a statewide early childhood integrated data system that includes administrative data from a variety of agencies from the health, economic and education sectors that support young children and their families within the early childhood mixed delivery system. The primary product is an interactive web portal that presents maps and other data visualization analyses to provide a comprehensive view of the strengths and needs within the state’s system to support data-informed decision-making among state and local policymakers.

  • Funding Source: Florida Division of Early Learning, Florida Department of Education
  • Funding Period: 07/01/2021-06/30/2023
  • Funding Number: SR662

Team:

The Florida Index of Child Care Access (FLICCA)

This interactive mapping tool, included in the Sunshine State Early Childhood Information Portal (SR662), depicts levels of access to quality child care for families enrolled in the Florida School Readiness Subsidy Program. This administrative data tool is used by state and local decision-makers to report families’ access at the zip-code level. The FLICCA uses two main measurements of access: infrastructure (i.e., the amount of high-quality care available relative to the number of subsidy recipients needing that care) and selection (i.e., the tendency for families using subsidies to enroll their children in available high-quality care). The relationship between these two measurements reveals the market distribution in child care within local communities, informing local policymakers to design and implement appropriate data-informed actions.

  • Funding Source: Florida Division of Early Learning, Florida Department of Education
  • Funding Period: 10/07/2019-06/30/2023
  • Funding Number: SR662

Team:

Local Government Support (Ongoing)

The Center’s early childhood policy research group provides ongoing support to various local governments in recommended practices for utilizing administrative data to improve early learning services for young children and families. These projects are each unique, answering specific policy questions, conducting data analyses, and providing consultation support as identified by the community stakeholders.

Measuring and Mapping Childcare Access in Alabama (Past)

The Center’s early childhood policy research group serves as a resource to others in developing protocols and systems for the receipt, curation and analysis of statewide administrative data. In this project, we helped to address the research needs of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. Through a partnership with Dr. Alison Hooper from the University of Alabama (UA), the team helped to identify the adequacy of data sources used to conduct analyses. The data collected through this study assisted UA researchers in conducting analyses to describe child care access across Alabama with a specific focus on families who use the state’s child care subsidy program.

You can read more here.

  • Funding Source: Alabama Department of Human Resources, State of Alabama
  • Funding Period: 10/01/2019-09/30/2020
  • Funding Number: 1952

Team:

  • Herman Knopf, Program Director/Principal Investigator, University of Florida (subcontract) 
  • Phillip R. Sherlock, Research Affiliate, Northwestern University
Children’s Trust of Alachua County Advisory Committee (Past)

The Center’s early childhood policy research group provided direction and research to the Children’s Trust of Alachua County to support data-driven decisions and policy. Upon its creation, the Trust appointed a Technical Advisory Committee, led by Dr. Herman Knopf with support from Maya Schreiber. This committee had three main functions: to provide direction on the data and indicators necessary to understand the current state of child well-being; to collect already available data; and to identify new data that needs to be collected. The project culminated in a final report to the Trust’s board of directors, which included available data and recommendations for the upcoming strengths and needs assessment.

Visit the Children’s Trust of Alachua County website here.

Related Content

A to Z’s of Early Childhood: Letter A – Access

Did you know there are local and national resources to help families locate and access needed early education and care arrangements?

Pilot Study: Application of the Index of Child Care Access among five Early Learning Coalitions in Florida

Through this project the UF Childhood Needs Assessment Partnership endeavored to test the feasibility of applying the Index of Child Care Access in the state of Florida using only state administrative data.

Innovative Accessibility Index Helps Policymakers Make Better Child Care Decisions

Researchers studying the impact of early childhood education and care programs have confirmed that children and families who access truly high-quality services achieve positive outcomes that last a lifetime.