The Sunshine State Early Childhood Information Portal project will take place through June 2023. The scope of the Sunshine Portal project was expanded when the Florida legislature passed HB 1349 which requires the Anita Zucker Center to partner with the Florida Department of Education Division of Early Learning to conduct an Economic Self-Sufficiency Analysis (ESSA). Once necessary data are collected from participating agencies, the Sunshine Portal research team will produce economic self-sufficiency analyses that include information from the following state and federal programs:

  • Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten
  • Head Start & Early Head Start
  • Women Infants and Children (WIC)
  • Child Welfare
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH)
  • School Readiness Program*
  • Medicaid*
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)*
  • Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA)*
  • Housing Choice Voucher Program*

*Programs required to be included under Florida Chapter 2021-87 in the ESSA 

Analyses

The following analyses will be published on the Sunshine Portal as they are completed. Each will be presented with findings connected to geographic locations and presented as interactive maps and charts.

1. Analyses describing the population and available services

These analyses will describe support services and population characteristics. They will utilize various descriptive statistics and include information on:

  • Common family compositions and structures
  • Most prevalent income bracket(s) served by program type
  • Reason(s) for eligibility
  • Common combinations of public benefit program participation
  • Number of participants served, by service and by geographic area
  • Percentage of participants who participated and the number of services they used
2. Analyses identifying how the population uses services

These analyses will identify relevant relationships between population characteristics and service participation. They will include a summary of service-use combinations, characteristics of participants, and information on other relevant information regarding each service.  

3. Analyses measuring the extent of existing benefits cliffs

A benefits cliff occurs when a family’s income has increased enough to lose eligibility for support services, but not enough to cover the assets obtained from participating in that service. This results in an overall decrease in net income. These analyses will probe the extent to which families experience benefits cliffs in Florida.

4. Analyses modeling differential outcomes

These analyses will detect salient subgroups of children and families with different socio-environmental characteristics and service-use profiles (e.g., School Readiness voucher, Medicaid, etc.) and model differential outcomes (e.g., self-sufficiency, kindergarten readiness). The research team will use regression mixtures to identify optimal ways to model the differential effects of child-health and socio-environmental profiles on access to early intervention services. The goal will be to not only understand differential access to services, but to also uncover subgroups of substantively different profiles of risk and resilience across the state. This will lead to policy recommendations for targeted intervention at the local level. For example, low-access areas would indicate that children with high-risk profiles have a lower likelihood of receiving early intervention services.

5. Other relevant analyses

 As requested by the Division of Early Learning and identified as necessary by the Sunshine Portal research team.