This piece of OKFutures focuses on assessing the availability, quality and alignment of existing health, early care and learning, and family education and support programs. By conducting a needs assessment, OPSR was able to determine the number and type of families who currently participate in Oklahoma's early childhood system as well as analyze data and identify strategies to reach our target population of Oklahoma's most vulnerable and underserved families. Moreover, this assessment links policies, practices and funding that impede equitable access to resources.
OPSR worked with the Urban Institute to provide a clear understanding of early childhood needs in Oklahoma. By analyzing the current landscape of the state's early childhood care and education mixed delivery system, our objective was to inform the implementation of changes to Oklahoma's system that maximize the availability of high quality options for low-income, disadvantaged families. In addition, Urban Institute's work will help us improve the quality of care, streamline administrative infrastructure and improve state-level funding.
Urban Insitute collected and analyzed a variety of existing data including needs assessments, strategic plans, census information, state and local administrative data, and policy, workforce and cost analyses. In addition, Urban Institute drafted a Key Themes Memo, see below, which identifies needs in three key areas including: early childhood care and education, health and family support program. These themes align with the Oklahoma School Readiness Pathway. To fill in any gaps, the Urban Institute also conducted site visits with parents and providers in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Tahlequah, Ada, Enid and Shawnee.
All of these efforts culminated into a final needs assessment, also linked below, that was approved by the Administration for Children and Families. This needs assessment helped guide the development of a strategic plan for the state.
OPSR is pleased to work with Third Sector Intelligence to build upon existing efforts to develop an Oklahoma Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS). ECIDS will help us take all that we learned from our needs assessment to increase alignment and quality in order to better meet existing needs.
From the request for proposal to the latest stakeholder meeting, below you can follow our progress each step of the way.
OPSR sought technical assistance to: 1) enable OPSR to conduct a thorough assessment of existing public and private early childhood programs to determine their effectiveness and to maximize the efficient use of current state funds; 2) equip state and community based program administrators, policymakers, public and private funders, the executive and legislative branches of state government, and community leaders to increase an understanding of how early childhood resources are being used and are benefiting young children and their families; 3) identify gaps and inequities; and 4) inform policy and funding decisions that increase equitable outcomes for young children. Bids were due Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 5 p.m. CST.
Third Sector Intelligence (3SI) works to help both the public and social sector convert data into information and knowledge that allows for better decision making and positive social change. They are experienced working with governments, philanthropies and nonprofits. And their services include data systems and organizational
solutions, research and analytics, planning and evaluation, and facilitation and stakeholder engagement.
As part of OKFutures, 3SI with their partners Foresight Law + Policy and Chapin Hall will utilize their expertise in data governance for state integrated data systems and experience working with the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness to build upon existing efforts to develop ECIDS.
Thus far 3SI has met with stakeholders and state leadership to define the scope of priority questions that ECIDS will help our state answer about early childhood. Learn more about this below.
Recently OPSR engaged over 40 stakeholders to identify collective priorities that will be used to inform the ECIDS design. Under the guidance of Third Sector Intelligence and Foresight Law + Policy, participants considered key questions that the state needs to answer to improve policy and program delivery, such as "What is the impact of early childhood education on the Oklahoma workforce development?" and "Which children are in which programs?". Below you can read a full report of this meeting's outcomes that will help shape how we move forward with next steps.