This piece of OKFutures will focus on assessing the availability, quality and alignment of existing health, early care and learning, and family education and support programs. This evaluation will help 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 will link policies, practices and funding that impede equitable access to resources.
OPSR is working 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 is 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.
So far, Urban Insitute has 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.
As we move forward, Urban Institute will help finalize OPSR's needs assessment, such that we can progress to developing a strategic plan for the state.