Initiative will make child care data easily accessible and help highlight child care deserts across the state.
Maryland Family Network (MFN) and Upfront, a software company that validates and provides access to childcare data, today announced a new, updated statewide family search portal and real-time child care map to make data more transparent, launching in early 2023. MFN is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to supporting very young children and those who care for them, especially their parents and child care providers.
“Today we can order almost anything at the touch of a button, but finding basic childcare information and understanding your family’s options is still a complicated and confusing task,” said Dana Levin-Robinson, Upfront CEO and Founder. “Families deserve easy access to child care options, and Upfront designed a modern platform for families that is both easy to find and use.”
With 360,000 children under the age of five in Maryland, the new family search portal allows families to find early education options by filtering through relevant information such as hours, ages served, experience with special needs, primary language spoken, or religious affiliations, among other important search criteria. The new portal will be more user-friendly, easily discoverable, and mobile optimized, and will replace MFN’s existing child care search portal.
Through a real-time early education provider map that breaks down to hyper local information and type of program, government officials and policymakers will be able to better understand where child care deserts are throughout the state or even by neighborhood. Historically, this type of data is only updated yearly and has never been built to this scale in a public-facing tool. By making this type of child care data transparent, policy makers will have valuable information to support initiatives in the locales that need it most.
Both the family search portal and real-time map will launch in early 2023.
“Child care is one of the most important decisions a family will ever make. They deserve to have as much information as possible to make that choice,” said Laura Weeldreyer, Maryland Family Network Executive Director. “Technology should make lives easier and that’s exactly what this, service does for Maryland families.”
Launched in 2020, Upfront built a configurable SaaS platform driven by data using a unique algorithm that cleans and validates child care program data that families, government, and providers can access. Families are able to be more effective in their decision-making knowing they are using accurate, up-to-date information.
Last year, Upfront was one of the 12 early-stage companies included in Equitech Techstars Accelerator’s inaugural 2021 cohort that took place in Baltimore. The competitive application process looked for founders that are building companies grounded in diversity, from underestimated communities, or that are developing technologies that increase access and equity across society.
For more information, visit allupfront.com.
For more information about MFN or to search for child care visit marylandfamilynetwork.org.
Upfront is a SaaS platform that grants governments, providers, and families access to cleaned, validated childcare data. We’ve built a proprietary model that validates and standardizes data to make every childcare provider accurate and discoverable. The data is accessible in multiple forms, most notably as supply/demand gaps for government level decision making and a modern, mobile-friendly search portal for families. Upfront is a Techstars portfolio with customers including NYC and Napa County. For more information, visit allupfront.com.
Maryland Family Network’s mission is to ensure that children have strong families, quality early learning environments, and a champion for their interests. For more information or to search for child care visit marylandfamilynetwork.org.