DaSy Framework: Introduction

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The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy Center), funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), was charged with developing a data system framework. This framework was developed over 14 months with extensive input from Part C and Part B Section 619 staff from seven partner states.

The Structure of the Framework

Subcomponents of the DaSy Framework

The DaSy framework is organized around six subcomponents: Purpose and Vision, Data Governance and Management, Stakeholder Engagement, System Design and Development, Data Use, and Sustainability. The subcomponents are interrelated. For example, the Purpose and Vision subcomponent addresses the mission, usage, and goals of the data system, which are fundamental to other subcomponents. The intended uses of data as addressed in the Data Use subcomponent must reflect the purpose and vision of the data system. Similarly, the data system must be designed to reflect its purposes; developing or enhancing a system is addressed in System Design and Development.

The phases of developing a new system or enhancing an existing one can be viewed as a life cycle, and the framework subcomponents reflect this. The cycle begins with planning and initiation; in the framework, having a process to identify the need for a change—for example, user needs for enhancing reporting capability or the need to address a new federal reporting requirement—is addressed in the Sustainability subcomponent. The Data Governance and Management subcomponent addresses the approval to move forward with the change to the data system, the first step in initiating a new system or an enhancement. The phases and processes related to the development of a new system or the enhancement are covered in the System Design and Development subcomponent. The ongoing operation and maintenance of the system is part of Data Governance and Management subcomponent, with the evaluation of how well the system is meeting user needs and recommendation for changes covered in the Sustainability subcomponent.

Development of the Framework

The framework content was developed through an iterative process of literature reviews, information gathering, and multiple rounds of feedback and revisions from state staff in seven partner states and external reviewers. In spring 2013, DaSy invited applications from state Part C and Section 619 programs interested in working on the development of the framework. The seven states selected as partners were Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The individual staff members from each state were the Part C and 619 coordinators and the Part C and Part B/619 data managers, along with additional personnel from some of the states. The state staff participated in monthly individual state calls and monthly all-state calls. In addition, the state staff participated in four face-to-face meetings between summer 2013 and spring 2014.

Coordination of the Data System Framework with Other Frameworks

ECTA System Framework

The DaSy framework was developed in coordination with two other efforts: the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center's System Framework and the Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) Planning Guide and Self-Assessment. OSEP charged the ECTA Center with developing a framework for high-quality Part C and Section 619 systems. From the literature and extensive input from six partner states and a technical work group of national, regional, and state experts, ECTA developed a framework to answer the question, "What does a state need to put into place in order to encourage/support/require local implementation of effective practices that result in positive outcomes for children with disabilities and their families?" The purpose of the ECTA system framework is to guide state Part C and Section 619 coordinators, staff, and leadership in evaluating their current state Part C and Section 619 systems and identifying areas for improvement and to provide them with direction on how to develop a more effective, efficient system that supports implementation of effective practices. The ECTA framework consists of six interrelated components: Governance, Finance, Personnel/Workforce, Data Systems, Accountability and Quality Improvement, and Quality Standards.

Considerations for Understanding and Using the Framework

As states well know, developing a high-quality Part C or Section 619 data system is a complicated, multifaceted undertaking. The nature and scope of state data systems vary greatly by state. The considerations that follow are important for making the best use of the contents of the DaSy framework.

Use of the Framework and Next Steps

The DaSy Center has developed a self-assessment based on the framework. The self-assessment enables states to systematically review their status on the elements and generate a numerical profile across the quality indicators. The self-assessment is intended to provide states a current snapshot to help them prioritize improvement efforts, generate a set of scores for states to measure progress over multiple points in time, and serve as a mechanism to encourage state participants to engage in rich conversation about their data systems.

DaSy Center Technical Assistance Related to the Framework

We hope that states find value in this framework and the additional supports for it that will be coming soon. We encourage states to contact the DaSy Center for technical assistance related to the framework. We can help with finding resources and with improvement activities. We hope the quality indicators and elements are clear, but we can provide clarification if needed. When the self-assessment is available, we can help, for example, with facilitating a stakeholder process to complete the self-assessment or a strategic planning process to make use of the results. We look forward to working together to improve the quality and use of data to improve programs for young children with disabilities and their families.