Smart Beginnings Opportunities

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Opportunities
You will find here high-lights of common data sets that are housed within Smart Beginnings footprints that have high utility for informing early childhood practices, programs, and policies. These findings were based on a survey that was administered in 2017 by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation to 17 Smart Beginnings sites. We hope the findings will guide you in tapping into new data sharing opportunities within your state or community.

In the fall of 2017, Smart Beginnings sites (SBs) were surveyed about the availability of 10 data sets within their footprint, with the selection of survey data sets driven by prime opportunities for local data to fill gaps in state administrative data within the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) or other sources: home visiting, early childhood mental health, child care subsidy, child assessment, non-Virginia Quality ECE program quality, Head Start, private pre-k, public pre-k applications, public pre-k capacity, and family support data. The survey asked about the availability of data on six levels: child, individual parent, family, provider of direct service (individual teacher, home visitor, nurse, counselor, etc.), classroom, and program level. There were four response options for each of the six levels of data within each of the 10 data sets: Collected/housed by SB, Collected/housed by SB partner(s), Collected/housed by both SB and SB partner(s), and No data available.

Among the 13 Smart Beginnings that responded to the survey, the most prevalently *collected/housed data sets included: child assessment data, Head Start data, private pre-k data, and public pre-k capacity data (slots, seats) *(collected/housed by SB, SB Partners, or SB & SB Partners). Those findings point to prime opportunities for SBs & SB partners to engage with one another to assess the quality, completeness, accessibility (paper versus automated), privacy parameters, and other characteristics of these four data sets and, depending on that assessment, determine the willingness to engage in data sharing agreements, particularly around PALS-PreK Child Assessment data from private pre-k, which could be a key strategy for supplementing PALS Pre-K data from “public” pre-k programs. Two of the 10 surveyed data sets were reported as being collected/housed by the SB respondents: public Pre-K Capacity (program level data) and non-VQ ECE Program Quality data (provider & program level data), and seven of the 10 data sets were reported as being collected/housed by both the SB respondents and their partners: home visiting data, child assessment data, private pre-k data, public pre-k capacity data, non-VQ early care and education program quality data, family support data, and early childhood mental health data (not Head Start, Child Care Subsidy, or Public Pre-K Applications data).