By Julie Shuell, Senior Consultant, Foundations for Families

Data-driven decision making relies on having access to information and using it to think about current programming, funding strategies, partnerships, and staffing.

The upcoming 2020 Census will provide new and essential population data for states and communities. After data is collected and high-level information released, additional detailed information about neighborhoods and census tracts will be released. Data will be useful at many levels. For example:

  • State policy makers can use this data to revisit their approaches to child care subsidy and quality to ensure compliance with federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) requirements;
  • Policymakers can also use the data to ensure alignment with state executive and legislative priorities for supporting low-income families; and
  • Data can help leaders understand how to improve child care quality for all residents to support employment and school attendance.

Census data isn’t the only source of information, particularly on unique populations. Data on the workforce from state economic development and employment agencies can identify hiring trends, locations of a new industry, and typical hours for low wage earners. Data on homeless families from human services agencies can illuminate shelter populations, families living with relatives, and child care needs. Data from state partners can shed light on families with infants and toddlers; their child care needs, preferences for the type of care, and satisfaction with the quality and affordability of supply. These are just a few of the many examples of how states and programs can leverage a variety of data sources to understand communities served.

Working with partners to understand population trends, state leaders can finesse their approach to child care supply and quality. Gathering and analyzing data regularly as a routine work process is vital to proactively identifying trends and responding to the needs of families.

Foundations for Families team members have extensive experience gathering, analyzing, and synthesizing data, at the state and local levels, to assess the strengths and needs of diverse communities. Please reach out to learn more about our needs assessment services.

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