The City of Chicago has partnered with early childcare providers and Northern Illinois University (NIU) to launch an integrated data system that allows multiple agencies to share data.
From this summer, the Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data System (CECIDS) will bring together data from across systems and programmes in near real-time, allowing for citywide and neighbourhood-level analyses. Programme-specific dashboards will also be created to serve families, programme administrators, funders and policymakers.
“CECIDS will allow us to have a 360 view of Chicago children and their families to pair resources to needs, and build a citywide strategy where we all use data to continuously improve the quality of services and ultimately generate better outcomes for children,” said Bela Moté, CEO of the Carole Robertson Center for Learning and CECIDS’ inaugural Co-Chair.
The partners include Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), Carole Robertson Center for Learning, Chicago Commons, Henry Booth House, EasterSeals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, Start Early, and Third Sector Intelligence (3Si).
The cloud-based environment will enable multiple agencies to share data under a collaborative governance structure as ‘data governors’. The Mayor’s Office said it will also ensure a community-driven process for establishing guiding principles for data access and use.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot
“Research has proven time and time again that early learning is one of the best ways to set our children up for long-term success both within and outside of the classroom,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Through the Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data System, we will be able to better understand and create initiatives that have the most positive impact on children.”
CECIDS builds on recent philanthropic investments to modernise the city’s early childhood data infrastructure at DFSS and CPS. A collaboration between the Mayor’s Office and the McCormick Foundation led to the creation of a DFSS data warehouse. The project also featured work around data governance and protecting confidential information.
“Fragmentation and complexity have long impeded progress in early childhood, so this initiative to provide transparency into how we’re doing by all 175,000 of our youngest children has exciting potential to pinpoint inequities, galvanise collective problem-solving and catalyse improvement,” said Timothy Knight, President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “Important things happen when researchers, communities, families, policymakers, advocates and elected officials are empowered with good data to take smart action.”
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