Taking Action for Children During COVID-19

Editor’s Note: In recent INPUT blogs, we’ve discussed the devastating effects of COVID-19 on industries such as supply chain, healthcare, and retail/CPG. There is one industry though where the crisis has had a resounding impact across all industries — child care.

According to a recent survey by Kaiser Family Foundation, “Among parents facing school or daycare closures, two-thirds (66%) say their life has been disrupted.”

FORWARD

In February, 2020, more than 70% of the 1,125 licensed child care providers operating in Central Ohio were closed with estimates as high as 11,690 employees out of work.

To stem the advance of the pandemic, between March 26-May 31, 2020, Ohio restricted child care to essential workers and limited it to providers who were approved for a new Temporary Pandemic Child Care (TPCC) license. On May 31, child care, under similar requirements in Ohio, was reopened to all families. In August, Ohio permitted child care programs to return to pre-pandemic licensing rules, but paid an incentive through October for those that adhered to the more stringent pandemic standards.


Connecting Families With Quality Care 

As a parent or guardian, you depend on reliable child care so you can do your job. The pandemic has brought to light the importance of child care and how critical it is in allowing every industry (and individual) to work. It’s essential to the infrastructure of our society.

When COVID-19 began its surge throughout Central Ohio, Action for Children, the local child care resource and referral agency, took action. 

“When the pandemic hit, child care providers closed throughout the state. This left essential personnel scrambling to find a safe place where they could take their children,” said Angela Daniels, Director of Quality Initiatives, Action for Children.

Within days, Action for Children utilized Alteryx to launch the first map in the state showing open providers operating under the new temporary pandemic license.
 

“As Ohio’s child care providers have been ordered to close, we created a map to show essential personnel where the licensed pandemic child care providers are located. Alteryx allowed us to blend data from our database and external sources rapidly to make this map available to the public when it is most needed.”

Matthew Bell, Board Member, Action for Children

Child care map

 

Mission Possible

Action for Children began using the Alteryx Analytic Process Automation Platform™ (APA) with free licenses offered through the Alteryx for Good program almost two years ago. They sought out the APA Platform based on a desire to better use data to advance its mission and offer programs in the most efficient way possible.

Action for Children struggled with the abundance of data coming in from disparate sources and the amount of time it was taking to process it. The APA Platform provided them with the ability to create reusable workflows that were repetitive into repeatable, streamlined tasks.

6 ways Action for Children uses Alteryx to gain many hours back that were previously spent manipulating data

  1. Create workflows to cleanse and format child care provider data when it’s received weekly
  2. Blend multiple sources of data to create various reports
  3. Prep raw data from various sources into a format that we can upload into the database
  4. Use workflows to validate the data and reports in the database
  5. Identify areas, at census block and zip code level, of risk where a shortage of child care exists
  6. Prep data for visualization in Tableau

“Alteryx has made a big difference in how we handle data and allows us to get from raw data to insights. We’re also able to be more efficient in our existing tasks and do things we previously could not, thereby enabling us to deliver on our mission better.”  

Matthew Bell, Board Member, Action for Children

A True Data Champion

Like many nonprofits, Action for Children was lacking an individual dedicated to managing and analyzing its data. Luckily, Amber Hibburt stepped up to the challenge. With no tech experience and a background in child care, she was able to pick up the APA Platform through training and hands-on experience to become Action for Children’s own citizen data scientist. 

“With Alteryx, there’s no steep learning curve, it’s code free/code friendly, and Amber was able to run with it quickly and take on more advanced approaches as she grew her understanding of different ways to use the tools and improve her skills,” said Matthew. 

“It really changes how people think about data. We used to wonder, ‘can we do it with data?’ Now we ask ‘what if we did this?’”  

Amber Hibburt, Data Management, Action for Children

Adapting to the Evolving Needs of the Community

As COVID-19 surges on, Action for Children continues to adapt and serve as the resource for those seeking safe child care in Central Ohio. At the same time, Action for Children is now able to share insights with government agencies about providers that have been impacted and serve as an advocate for them during these tough times and beyond. This opens up opportunities for collaboration with other organizations to help arrange supplies, better understand how big the service gap is, along with associated revenue and expenses occurred due to the pandemic.

“We streamlined manual processes and improved confidence in our ability to better use data to tell a narrative that reflects the work we do here at Action for Children.” 

Matthew Bell, Board Member, Action for Children

ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT

Action for Children is the child care resource and referral agency for communities throughout Central Ohio. Their mission is to transform the lives of children through the adults that matter most in their lives – their parents, caregivers, and teachers. This is accomplished through child care support, kindergarten readiness programs, home visits, parenting classes, and technology assistance. 

 

STAY PUT. 

LEARN

See how Alteryx for Good delivers game-changing benefits of breakthrough data science and analytics capabilities into schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations, and it offers support to those whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.