How Shared Data Helped Link Housing Conditions and School Readiness

Posted December 13, 2018
A graphic that reflects how integrated data works to protect and support children.

In Cleve­land, researchers used com­bined data to con­nect hous­ing-relat­ed risk fac­tors with reduced kinder­garten readi­ness. City work­ers and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions then turned to the same tool — shared data — to help imple­ment solutions.

Using Inte­grat­ed Data to Iden­ti­fy and Pro­tect Chil­dren From Edu­ca­tion­al Risk, a new case study from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, explores this work and under­scores the pow­er­ful role that inte­grat­ed data sys­tems can play in iden­ti­fy­ing and address­ing com­plex social issues.

Read or Down­load the Case Study

The two data sys­tems used in Cleve­land — both devel­oped by the Cen­ter on Urban Pover­ty and Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment — con­tained prop­er­ty infor­ma­tion and social ser­vices infor­ma­tion. By com­bin­ing these sys­tems, researchers iden­ti­fied clear con­cerns for fam­i­lies liv­ing in or near sub­stan­dard or finan­cial­ly dis­tressed hous­ing. Young kids grow­ing up in these con­di­tions were more like­ly to have lead poi­son­ing, be mal­treat­ed and move fre­quent­ly — all fac­tors that imped­ed their readi­ness for school.

Accord­ing to the data: More than 13,750 kinder­garten­ers entered Cleveland’s pub­lic school sys­tem from 2007 to 2010. About 40% of these kids had test­ed pos­i­tive for ele­vat­ed lead lev­els at some point in ear­ly childhood.

Equipped with this infor­ma­tion, city staff and com­mu­ni­ty groups are now work­ing to pre­vent lead poi­son­ing and pro­tect chil­dren from haz­ards in their homes and neigh­bor­hoods. Two pri­ma­ry strate­gies that they are pur­su­ing are:

  1. Uti­liz­ing the data­base to enforce the city’s rental reg­istry require­ment, start a reg­u­lar cycle of home inspec­tions and pri­or­i­tize build­ings for demo­li­tion. Over the past two years, city staff have added more than 10,000 units to Cleveland’s rental reg­istry — an impor­tant step in local lead clean-up efforts.
  2. Cre­at­ing a mobile-friend­ly web­site that gath­ers linked data in the data­base to dis­play infor­ma­tion about lead haz­ards, code vio­la­tions and repair his­to­ries in spe­cif­ic hous­ing units. Prospec­tive renters will be able to access the tool, which is being devel­oped by a coali­tion of 12 local orga­ni­za­tions, and use the data to inform their hous­ing choices.

The Cleve­land case study is part of a grow­ing resource col­lec­tion from the Casey Foun­da­tion that caters to researchers and local lead­ers who are inter­est­ed in using inte­grat­ed data sys­tems to iden­ti­fy prob­lems and solu­tions for chil­dren and families.

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