Resources for Early Learning Challenge Applications

Aug 26, 2011

The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge application.  It focuses on five areas, including successful state systems, high quality, accountable programs, promoting early learning and development outcomes for children, the early childhood workforce, and measuring outcomes and progress.

In developing the application, the Departments have put emphasis on the need for data to show the current status of low-income children and early childhood programs in the state, including demographic information, expenditure data for several years, and information on participation in a range of federal and state programs.  There are many sources of this data, and CLASP has several resources that may be useful in this process, including:

  • CLASP's DataFinder is a custom, easy-to-use tool developed to provide select demographic information as well as administrative data on programs that affect low-income people and families. Users can create and download custom tables that present a national picture, a state picture or a comparative look at states and communities. Data is available for several years, with some available from 2007 to current year data.  The DataFinder currently includes state and national data on: child care assistance spending and participation; Head Start and Early Head Start participation; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) expenditures; young child demographics; and poverty. The tool also provides community-level statistics on education, demographics and youth violence.
  • Special spreadsheets on Head Start and Early Head Start participation by state from 2007 to present, drawn from PIR data.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start funded enrollment by state from 2007-present, drawn from PIR data.
  • Age breakdowns for children living in low-income families.
  • The CLASP Data Tool on Infants and Toddlers, including links to online data sources with both original sources and organizations that have analyzed multiple datasets. By following these links, groups can find data specific to their state to populate the tool. Once compiled, these data could be analyzed to identify any trends, areas of need for policy change, and opportunities to support the case for increased investment.  Users can download and save a copy of this tool, open the tool in Microsoft Word, then fill in their state's data. National figures are included where possible, which can provide context of how infants and toddlers are faring on key indicators.

For more information, please contact Danielle Ewen at

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