Q: Why is KITS being built?

A: First Steps needs a single source of information about the programs and services we provide in communities across the state, and the children and families participating in them. KITS will eliminate data silos to reduce inefficiencies and increase opportunities for collaborative decision-making that leads to:

  • Better insight into how First Steps programs and services are utilized;
  • Better answers to key policy and program questions;
  • Better use of resources to improve programs and services; and
  • Better outcomes for children and families.

Q: What types of questions will we be able to answer with the data collected in KITS?

A: KITS will enable First Steps to answer a variety of critical questions about the programs, services, and children and families. For example:

  • What are the characteristics of children and families enrolled in First Steps programs?
  • What are the characteristics of the First Steps programs in which children/families are enrolled?
  • Where are First Steps programs located in the state (e.g., by geographic region, urban/suburban/rural)?
  • How do children/families enter and move through First Steps programs?
  • What are the outcomes for children participating in First Steps programs?
  • What factors are related to better outcomes for children participating in First Steps programs?
  • What ongoing professional development do First Steps staff receive? What might be missing/needed?

Q: How is KITS different from existing data systems?

A: Through the years, technology solutions have attempted to save time on paperwork, assuming that efficiency of completing online forms would provide time back to teachers, providers, and other program staff. Such systems fall short of focusing on all the other needed processes and aspects to improve outcomes for individual children and families. KITS is a fully-customized solution that balances the need for state- and local-level program management with the ongoing need to individualize service and education plans for children and families. KITS goes beyond simply filling out forms and maintaining compliance. KITS brings all the data into one place, where team members can have access to the information they need to implement high-quality programs administered by First Steps.

Q: How is KITS being built?

A: KITS is being developed using an iterative and incremental phased approach. Requirements gathering is being broken down into small, easily developable “chunks.” Repeated cycles of software development (iterative) are being used over small periods of time (incremental). Individual parts of the system are developed, tested, corrected, and then integrated to form the full system, with stakeholder input gathered and used throughout.

  • Stakeholder Engagement
    • First Steps and its partner vendor, AnLar, will engage with stakeholders throughout the design and development of the system to ensure it meets the needs of all intended users.
  • Process Review
    • Process Reviews consist of First Steps and AnLar staff working together to define the processes to be supported by the KITS. Processes are then organized into “modules” or components of the system.
  • Requirements Documentation
    • Once the processes associated with a module have been defined, the AnLar Development Team will create written descriptions of the functional requirements for the system, including wireframes of screen layouts and features.
  • Development
    • As the Requirements Documentation is finalized and approved for each system module, the AnLar Development Team will begin work on programming (or coding) the system and conducting internal testing.
  • User Testing and Approval
    • First Steps state staff and other identified stakeholders will complete user acceptance testing (UAT) on each module. Needed changes will be made and final approval will be obtained on all tested modules.
  • Professional Learning
    • AnLar will develop professional learning materials for users to receive training on the functionality and features of KITS. Role specific user guides, video tutorials, and other training materials will be created.
  • Deploy to Production
    • Following First Steps’ approval of the completed development work in KITS, AnLar will deploy the system to a production environment for all intended users.

Q: Is KITS secure?

A: KITS is hosted in a Microsoft Azure Government Cloud Data Center. These data centers are only available for Federal, State, and local governments and offer the highest level of compliance and data security for cloud solutions. Azure Government provides layers of security from the outer firewall all the way down to the application itself—security protocols and standards that are unparalleled to any private company hosting solution, including areas like detection of malicious access attempts and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

Q: Will KITS integrate with other data management systems?

A: KITS is being designed to integrate smoothly with several other state data management systems, such as the South Carolina Department of Education’s SUNSID system (student ID number assignment system) and the South Carolina Integrated Data System. KITS developers will establish integration options with needed systems, such as API and data import/export processes.

Q: When will KITS be available for statewide use?

A: KITS is expected to roll-out for use by all 4K and local partnership programs in the spring of 2023. Until then, as portions of the system are built, samples of programs/users will be asked to participate in user acceptance and field testing.