Easy to Say… Hard to Do
Dakota County’s award-winning Birth to Age 8 Collaborative connects families unknown to local schools with early childhood programs and community services. It then works with parents around children’s developmental progress through the third grade.
This requires exchanging data across multiple systems.
Technically, this is “easy to say… hard to do”, because schools and related programs – like mental health, juvenile justice, and child protection – are constrained by multiple layers of regulations. They struggle to meet their own requirements, let alone coordinate with others.
Data-sharing initiatives can also falter when parents and community leaders voice concerns about how data will be used. This Collaborative gets releases from parents up front, and the program is completely voluntary. As a result parents appear comfortable with the information being exchanged and appreciate the program’s benefits.
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