Introducing the Early Childhood Data Hub

In 2021, as the Illinois Longitudinal Data System (ILDS) team worked with the State of Illinois to envision and develop an Early Childhood Participation dataset, it was agreed that the Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map (IECAM) team at the University of Illinois would be the primary developer because of their more than 15 years of experience with early childhood data. 

The Early Childhood Participation dataset combines data from all major early childhood programs in Illinois to provide a clear understanding of which services children receive over time. While initially developed to be a dataset that allows researchers to better understand the experiences of children in early childhood services, the goals and objectives of the ILDS have always included the ability to provide better reporting to local communities. Using the dataset to support a refresh of the IECAM tools–which include an online, searchable database, service maps, and regional reports–made perfect sense to align with this goal.

While not yet ready for public release, significant progress has been made toward realizing this vision of a new database and refreshed IECAM. The data has been combined, and the data requests have been approved to build the tool. Early childhood stakeholders from across the state were invited to share their ideas. Using that feedback, the IECAM team, working with the ILDS team, an external design firm, and a variety of partners, have designed and started to build the new tool. 

The new dataset and creation of more robust data tools align with how Illinois envisions the ILDS moving forward: a system that supports both better research and analytics and better public access to data. Indeed, as researchers gain access to the data, we expect they will build new reports and analyses that can be added to the tool. The goal is to create a pipeline from research to reporting that gets data into the hands of decision-makers, policymakers, and communities. 

A First Look

While we continue to work toward the new front-end launch, the IECAM and ILDS teams, as well as ISBE and IDHS, are excited to share this video to introduce the IECAM Early Childhood Data Hub.

In Partnership With

The IECAM data tools redesign and the video have been created with support from the Center for Early Learning Funding Equity at NIU.

Keep Reading