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Colorado Department of Early Childhood Data Strategy

Teacher stands beside easel pad with marker in hand.

Project Summary

The Colorado Lab was asked by the new Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) to recommend a data and technology strategy that would help them better meet the needs of children, families, providers, and early childhood workforce. The Colorado legislature passed a monumental bill during the 2021 session that approved the launch of a brand new state Department of Early Childhood in the Executive Branch. One of the major focus areas of the CDEC transition was to build data and technology solutions that transform the family and provider experience from fragmentation to unification. The work of the Colorado Lab resulted in a comprehensive knowledge-building strategy document for the CDEC through a holistic approach to data and technology.

Summary of Findings

Key takeaways from the Colorado Lab’s work include:

  • Start with USE (what information will be used), then identify necessary DATA, then design the TECHNOLOGY.
  • Create a staffing model that reflects these key areas (information use, data, then technology).
  • If we want to bust silos in the early childhood field, we can’t create them in our knowledge center at the CDEC.
  • The best data are gathered through incentive, not exclusively compliance.


The Colorado Lab’s recommended data and technology strategy was successfully used by the CDEC to secure nearly $17 million in funding to implement the recommendations of the Colorado Lab. These recommendations continue to serve as CDEC’s data and technology goals.

Get Involved

For more information about working with the Colorado Lab, see Government and Community Partnerships or Research Partnerships.rnrnu0026nbsp;