Finding all the early childhood data relevant to your community can be intimidating. For this reason, IECAM has put together this step-by-step guide on how to gather the data and information you need to understand and communicate your community’s early childhood landscape and needs.

Step 1

Use a standard report such as the Response to PFA and PI Request for Proposals or the Early Care and Education Services and Child Population report. These standard reports provide helpful demographic and program data.

Make sure to get data for all the geographic regions represented in your service area. These may include counties, municipalities, zip codes/ZCTAs, unit school districts, elementary school districts, townships, state and/or federal legislative districts, and ISBE and/or IDHS regions. You will need to complete separate standard reports for different types of geographic regions (counties, municipalities, school districts, etc.).

Step 2

Use the updated early childhood program data (e.g., Head Start, PFA, PFA Expansion) from the Up-to-date Data in Spreadsheets page instead of the program data from the standard report. Because of time constraints, we were not able to include these data in the standard report or in our tabular data searches. These data are in spreadsheets by year with different sheets (or tabs) for each geographic area.

Step 3

Use additional demographic data to supplement descriptions of your area.

Step 4

Call and/or meet with your local early childhood partners (e.g., Head Start, PFA, PI, child care providers) to help you describe the current landscape of early care and education in your area not covered by IECAM data, such as current enrollment numbers.

Call and/or meet with your community partners that support and contribute to child and family well-being, including physical and mental health services, housing providers, and homeless shelters, to help you describe actual or potential collaborations to better serve children in your area.

For more, visit our Collaboration Resources page.


If you need more assistance, just ask! You may also call 877-275-3227 or email us at iecam@illinois.edu. We are more than happy to help.