To promote children’s healthy development, families need supports such as health care, nutritious food, housing, and high quality early care and education (ECE). Programs that provide these services often operate in silos, which can create barriers for families to access the suite of services they need to thrive. A growing group of initiatives we call “coordinated services approaches” seek to combine funding streams and coordinate services for families in an effort to move families out of poverty in the short-term and decrease the chance that poverty will continue into the next generation. For example, the Harlem Children’s Zone, a well-publicized, comprehensive, place-based model, provides wraparound support for families and children in a neighborhood in New York City.
In November, 2018, the AMCS team reviewed publicly available information, such as documents, websites, and program descriptions, and identified 95 state and local coordinated services approaches that met study criteria. We are excited to share our new interactive map, which includes information on all 95 state and local coordinated service approaches. This map was created using GIS, described below.
What is GIS?
A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that facilitates the analyzation and display of geo-referenced data: information that is associated with a particular location. GIS suites like ArcGIS can be used by social science researchers to analyze relationships between place-based variables. Researchers can create maps and visualizations that communicate complex data sets in an intuitive way to other researchers, stakeholders, and the public. Maps provide a common visual language across languages and cultures, and can be a powerful way to share social science research data. The interactive GIS map created for the AMCS project allows users to explore information about sites using coordinated services approaches.
The interactive map also includes information on recipients of Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B5) grant program. The PDG B-5 grants are designed to fund states to conduct a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment followed by in-depth strategic planning, while enhancing parent choice and expanding the current mixed-delivery system consisting of a wide range of provider types and settings. These include child care centers and home-based child care providers, Head Start and Early Head Start, state pre-kindergarten, and home visiting service providers across the public, private and faith-based sectors. There is considerable overlap in the States/Territories engaged in ongoing coordinated services work and those who received PDG B5 funding to enhance their mixed-delivery system and you will see that depicted in the map.
We are also pleased to share the recently released first report from the Assessing Models of Coordinated Services (AMCS) project, conducted by Mathematica, which sought to identify and describe existing coordinated services approaches at the state or local level.
The report includes findings from a process in which the AMCS team developed profiles on a subset of the coordinated services approaches identified in the scan. Points of contact at specific coordinated services approaches were asked to review and verify the profiles. In the report, the research team summarizes several broad themes that emerged for the state and local coordinated services approaches, such as how they developed, how they are funded, how partners work together and the extent to which data are gathered and shared.
We encourage you to learn more about all of these coordinated services approaches by checking out the report and exploring the map, where a click of the mouse will let you explore different coordinated services approaches across the country!
AMCS Research Questions
- How do state and local coordinated services approaches coordinate partnerships and service application and delivery?
- How do coordinated services approaches intend to reduce barriers that confront families trying to access services?
- Are coordinated services approaches that combine ECE, family economic security, and/or other health and human services able to address other child development factors beyond ECE?
- What have we learned from efforts to integrate enrollment and eligibility processes for health and human services?
- Are states and/or localities examining service delivery dynamics across ECE programs to assess the availability of care slots and services to meet the needs of eligible families?
- How is public and private ECE funding targeted to meet the needs of at-risk children and families?
Tracy Carter Clopet is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst with VPD Government Solutions whose work focuses on early care and education (ECE), particularly in the area of quality improvement efforts in ECE programs for low-income children and families.
Laura Hoard is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst whose work focuses on family and early childhood mental and physical health, disability, and how coordinated services and systems can support overall well-being.
Justin Falcone is the Data Visualization and Media Manager at OPRE, and oversees OPRE’s data visualization work, communications strategy, and creative direction.