Early Childhood Data Project

In the spirit of showcasing the important work we do with our various partners, we at D3 are beginning a series that will highlight these different projects and the impact we accomplish together.

In August of 2016, The Kresge Foundation awarded Data Driven Detroit a grant to support the Hope Starts Here: Early Childhood Partnership in its effort to create a comprehensive vision for the early childhood ecosystem in Detroit.

There were two main focuses of this project:

  1. Hope Starts Here support and leadership
  2. Early childhood data development

Hope Starts Here Support and Leadership

Community-based organizations, parent-leaders, and philanthropic sector representatives met on a regular basis to develop strategies related to child health and wellbeing, early care quality, early childhood teacher talent, systems financing, and early childhood facilities. D3 participated in Hope Starts Here’s Strategy Team meetings and used data and analysis to help inform the strategy teams in their decision-making and recommendations.

The data D3 offered not only identified areas in Detroit demonstrating need, but also helped highlight areas strategy teams might not have initially considered. D3 also assisted in identifying indicators to measure the progress of the strategies, helping the strategy teams understand the right questions to ask and how to ask them. You can read more about Hope Start Here’s engagement plans on its website.

Early Childhood Data Development

In addition to the needs identified in the working group meetings, D3 conducted data acquisition and data development activities to work toward building a more complete and comprehensive early childhood data system. This allowed us to respond to data requests from the strategy teams in real time. For example, D3 cleaned and published aggregated 2014 births data for the entire State of Michigan at various geographic levels. In addition, this data acquisition and development allowed us to head down a path of designing and creating resources that will begin to better serve Detroit’s children, families, and communities. This work built on previous research that D3 conducted related to early childhood education.  You can learn more about D3’s work with early childhood education from an interview that our research analyst, Stephanie Quesnelle, participated in a few months ago.

This work also included developing a portal that showcases all the research and data that has been developed over the past few years in the early childhood development sphere.  The web portal highlights six indicators related to early childhood development from 0-8 years old including mothers’ access to prenatal care and 3rd grade English Language Arts proficiency. The Detroit Collaborative Design Center’s early childhood ecosystem map helps provide an understanding of the scope of services available to support young children.  Users can also explore different datasets, maps, news articles, and blog posts related to early childhood to better understand the landscape.  There is also an opportunity to dig deeper into data through an online mapping tool with a wide variety of information from D3, IFF’s Supply and Demand Analysis, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Tackling the early childhood space in Detroit is not an easy task, but with The Kresge Foundation’s support, we are able to provide accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision making for partners in this sector.