The Early Care and Education Map
A new resource is now available to help funders, policymakers, advocates and early care and education providers better understand where quality, licensed early care and education resources are located relative to where young children live. The Early Care and Education Map, which was developed by Shift Research Lab, leverages neighborhood-level data from Denver’s seven-county metro region to help illustrate the existing landscape of early care and education providers.
Shift Research Lab, which provides free data and analysis to help drive community change, created the ECE Map to inform decision-making related to public and private sector investment, provider expansion, spending of quality improvement dollars, and identifying where additional subsidies are needed. The tool utilizes data to better understand how far parents travel when choosing an early childhood option, ultimately helping to identify which communities have a shortage of care, which communities lack high-quality care, and if there is enough care in communities where vulnerable children live. Because parents’ ECE choices are based on factors that can’t be accounted for, such as choosing an ECE that’s close to work, and enrollment data isn’t reported to a centralized authority, Shift Research Lab took a creative approach to calculating accessibility that analyzed travel patterns to ECEs.
Shifts sees the potential for this tool to serve as a more comprehensive early care and education data resource, and it looks forward to partnering with the early care and education community on its continued expansion, including adding additional data as it becomes available and potentially expanding its geographic reach to the rest of the state.