Example of a State Level Implementation
WorkLife Systems (WLS) created a technology solution to meet the child care referral and information needs for the State of Michigan. This solution has earned national attention and is an exemplary model with the capability of being scaled-up to the national level. The database management system and reporting software, developed and implemented by WLS effectively supports early learning educators, child care supports, programs, providers, professional development and families @ www.greatstartCONNECT.org. This powerful technology solution coordinates relevant stakeholders’ data statewide from frontline staff, child care providers, Department of Human Services, Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing, Michigan Department of Education, and workforce development (training). It is updated daily and available 24/7.
As greater emphasis is being focused on quality measures, particularly from the government, the ability to have quality measures built into the design of technology solutions is paramount.
During the first stage of implementation, individual databases from 16 resource agencies were consolidated into one database and their data standardized. During the second stage of implementation, all end users converted to using the WLS system with full automation features resulting in a cost savings of six million dollars. The cost savings of six million dollars was largely due to the capability of parents to perform their own online searches vs. phoning in for child care referrals, plus the ability for providers to update their own profiles online. 50,000 parents steadily use the system each year and approximately 12,000 providers are featured. Using the WLS model of service delivery will save your state millions per year.
Description of Technology Solution
WLS designed a searchable licensed early learning and child care program database that is contained within the www.greatstartCONNECT.org web site, including Head Start, state-funded pre-kindergarten, center-based and family home programs. Access was given to providers to enable them to update their profiles with their most current information including the number of openings they have, any photos they wish to upload, their subsidy status, specific trainings they have attended, and more. Some of the highlights of the WLS technology solution include:
- Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing in the State of Michigan provides updated licensing data, which is imported into the database on a daily basis ensuring the most current data is available online;
- Online access for parents to licensing reports on providers from the Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing in the State of Michigan Department of Human Services;
- Daily exports of unlicensed subsidized providers trainings to the State of Michigan Department of Education;
- Online search capabilities by city, zip code, school or mile radius for parents searching for providers, plus parents can view care quality ratings, called "Great Start to Quality" ratings to find the highest quality of care for their children;
- Online Registration of training opportunities for early childhood educators, unlicensed subsidized providers, and parents.