Finding all the early childhood data relevant to your community can be intimidating. For this reason, IECAM has put together this two-step guide on how to gather the data and information you need to understand and communicate your community’s early childhood landscape and needs.
Use a quick data report such as the Early Care and Education Services and Child Population report or the Response to PFA and PI Request for Proposal report. These reports provide helpful demographic and program data such as the number of young children living at or under various federal poverty levels as well as capacity and enrollment information for a variety of early childhood services and programs.
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 may need to complete separate quick data reports for different types of geographic regions (counties, municipalities, school districts, etc.) to get a full picture of your community or service area.
As of October 2019, the most up-to-date information on Preschool for All (PFA) and Preschool for All Expansion can be found here.
Use additional demographic data to supplement descriptions of your area.
You can 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.
You can also 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.