In this new era of data-based decision making, a few states and the District of Columbia are using a unique strategy for mapping both the need and use of services designed to reach vulnerable young children and their families.
This type of “Risk and Reach” assessment looks geographically at the needs of young children and their families in relation to available resources. Using child- and family-level indicators of “risk” such as poverty status, low birth weight, and low maternal education at the regional- or county-level helps policymakers identify geographic pockets of high need. These findings are then compared with “reach” data that may include the type and location of selected early childhood programs, capacity, and utilization rates, which can also be tracked over time in order to identity trends or emerging patterns.
Source: Child Trends