Using linked data to improve early care and education programs

Early care and education (ECE) program leaders can better understand and serve the children and families in their program when they combine their own data with data from other organizations. This can be tough for programs to do, though, and many programs lack resources or knowledge that would support this aspect of their continuous improvement.

That’s why Child Trends took part in a project called Building Capacity to Use Linked Data, funded by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, in partnership with the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

They developed several resources to help program leaders link their data with other agencies’, and use that linked data to support quality improvement. The first resource, Strength in Numbers: Supporting Quality Improvement in Early Care and Education Programs through Linking Administrative Data, is a research brief that may be used by both ECE program leaders and community or state partners interested in linking data with ECE programs. It highlights opportunities in linking data and offers ideas for overcoming related challenges.