Recent Highlights from Our Collection

Below are highlights from our most recent acquisitions. Research Connections scans its newest acquisitions, focusing on those from key organizations and journals, to identify resources to feature here.

What are the psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers?

Psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers
Swartz, Rebecca Anne, 01/01/2016

Background Family child care is commonly used in the US by families, including by those receiving child care subsidies. Psychosocial influences upon the workforce and professional development participation of family child care providers (FCCPs) have implications for the investment of public dollars that aim to improve quality and stability of child care. Objective We examined psychosocial influences upon workforce and professional development participation of FCCPs. We hypothesized lower levels of psychosocial stress and higher levels of peer support would be associated with less consideration of exit. We hypothesized that those providers embracing a greater sense of themselves as ECE professionals and reporting the support of professional peers would have greater participation in professional development. Methods This study employed the use of administrative survey data in path modeling. Results Multivariate analyses of survey data indicated that psychosocial stress had a significant, positive association with consideration of exit. In contrast, perceived peer support had a significant, negative association with consideration of exit. A stronger sense of identity as an early care and education professional had a significant, positive association with professional development participation as measured by training hours completed in the past year. The support of professional peers was not observed to have a significant association with professional development participation. Conclusion Results suggest the importance of considering psychosocial factors in planning workforce development and educational programs for FCCPs. This may include developing supports to help FCCPs cope with the psychosocial stress of care work, build professional identities, and connect with peer providers to promote stability and quality caregiving in the ECE workforce. We propose additional qualitative research aimed at understanding the context of FCC care as a mechanism for informing the development of these supports. (author abstract)

What are the outcomes from the Wolf Trap's Early STEM/Arts program?

Arts integration: A promising approach to improving early learning
Ludwig, Meredith J., 02/01/2016
Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from http://www.air.org/system/files/downloads/report/Arts-Integration-Wolf-Trap-February-2016.pdf

In 2010, Wolf Trap Foundation received a $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program (AEMDD) to develop a program that would apply Wolf Trap's PD approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), with a focus on mathematics. The Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts (Early STEM/Arts) program was the subject of a four-year study conducted by American Institutes for Research (AIR) in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. This brief summarizes the findings from the three reports that were produced as a result of the AEMDD grant, providing additional insights into the outcomes from Wolf Trap's Early STEM/Arts program (Goff & Ludwig, 2013; Ludwig & Goff, 2013; Ludwig & Song, 2015). (author abstract)

What universal and targeted self-regulation interventions can be used within human service programs supported by the Administration for Children and Families?

Self-regulation and toxic stress report 3: A comprehensive review of self-regulation interventions from birth through young adulthood
Murray, Desiree W., 02/01/2016
(OPRE Report #2016-34). Washington, DC: U.S. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/acf_report_3_approved_fromword_b508.pdf

The overarching aim of this review was to inform the selection and use of self-regulation interventions within human services programs supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). For that reason, our focus was on universal and targeted interventions that could be used within the existing infrastructure of those human services programs, with particular attention to vulnerable populations living in adversity or with specific risk characteristics. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Research-to-Policy brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

Do children's early language and literacy outcomes vary in Head Start programs in urban and rural communities?

Differential effectiveness of Head Start in urban and rural communities
McCoy, Dana Charles, 03/01/2016

Recent research suggests that Head Start may be differentially effective in improving low-income children's early language and literacy skills based on a number of individual- and family-level characteristics. Using data from the Head Start Impact Study (n = 3503; 50% male, 63% treatment group), the present study extends this work to consider program impact variation based on centers' location in urban versus rural communities. Results indicate that Head Start is more effective in increasing children's receptive vocabulary (as measured by the PPVT) in urban areas and their oral comprehension (as measured by the Woodcock-Johnson Oral Comprehension task) in rural areas. Additional analyses suggest that related characteristics of the center -- including concentration of dual language learners and provision of transportation services -- may underlie these associations. Implications for research on program evaluation and policy are discussed. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) bibliography list for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

What was the state of state-funded preschool programs during the 2014-2015 school year?

The state of preschool 2015: State preschool yearbook
Barnett, W. Steven, 01/01/2016
New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/sites/nieer/files/2015%20Yearbook.pdf

This annual report examines access to, quality standards in, and resources devoted to state-funded preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children during the 2014-2015 school year. It is based on a survey of administrators of state-funded preschool programs. The report includes profiles for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and United States territories. Key findings show a modest increase in enrollment, with the most growth occurring among the 3-year old population. Six programs gained a quality standards benchmark, with West Virginia and Mississippi being the newest states to earn all ten benchmarks. State funding for pre-K increased, with two-thirds coming from New York, due largely from investments in New York City's full-day preschool. Four states reported reductions in spending. This yearbook survey includes, for the first time, two sets of supplemental questions that focus on states' policies to support pre-K dual language learners and the pre-K workforce.

What are the patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements in Illinois and New York?

Patterns of child care subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements: Evidence from Illinois and New York
Pilarz, Alejandra Ros, 06/01/2016

Given the prevalence of short child care subsidy spells and program churning documented in prior studies, researchers and policymakers have been concerned about the implications of discontinuity in subsidy receipt for the stability of children's care arrangements. Yet little research has studied the stability of subsidized arrangements or how subsidy discontinuity relates to changes in subsidized providers. Using child care subsidy program administrative records from a cohort of children in four diverse sites across Illinois and New York states, this study examines patterns of subsidy use and stability of subsidized care arrangements, as well as the relationship between the two. Results suggest that the length of states' eligibility periods is related to the duration of subsidy spells; however, significant variation in patterns of subsidy use within states suggests that local level factors are also important. Results show that subsidy discontinuity is related to children experiencing more total changes in subsidized providers. Focusing on provider changes across spells, we also find that the timing of subsidy exits, the length of gaps in subsidy receipt, and within spell provider instability are each related to whether or not children re-enter the program with a different subsidized provider after a break in subsidy receipt. We discuss these findings' implications for understanding how new program requirements established in the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant may matter for subsidy continuity and care stability. (author abstract)

How did the states in the Work Support Strategies initiative change policies to streamline access to Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance?

Changing policies to streamline access to Medicaid, SNAP, and child care assistance: Findings from the Work Support Strategies evaluation
Isaacs, Julia B., 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/2000668-Changing-Policies-to-Streamline-Access-to-Medicaid-SNAP-and-Child-Care-Assistance-Findings-from-the-Work-Support-Strategies-Evaluation.pdf

This report describes and analyzes the experiences of the six states involved in the WSS initiative as they leveraged policy change to streamline and align families' access to work supports. A broad range of policies are analyzed here, from legislative and regulatory changes to revising wording of guidance in a state policy manual or asking local agencies to implement policies that were sitting on the books but not put into practice. This range includes policies that stem from other initiatives but are viewed by the states as furthering the WSS goals. Policy change was always part of a broader package that included technological innovations and business process improvements, the subject of companion reports. (author abstract)

What are the key factors that affect parental preschool choices and challenges among families experiencing homelessness?

A qualitative assessment of parental preschool choices and challenges among families experiencing homelessness: Policy and practice implications
Stillman, Lindsey, 03/01/2016
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research. Retrieved from https://www.huduser.gov/portal/portal/sites/default/files/pdf/parental-preschool-choices.pdf

Quality preschool education has a critical effect on later academic success, yet only a small percentage of young children experiencing homelessness are enrolled in preschool and little is known about the challenges and decisionmaking processes that affect these children's participation in preschool. This paper responds to this knowledge gap. Using a modified grounded theory approach to analyze interviews and focus groups with 28 formerly homeless families, the authors find that key factors influencing preschool enrollment are housing stability, access to social-support networks, parental response to early learning environments, and the types of facilitative support for preschool enrollment received during interactions with early childhood and social service systems. These findings are integrated into a socioecological framework that describes the parental experience of preschool choice. The paper concludes with a series of policy and practice recommendations that may help facilitate preschool enrollment among families experiencing homelessness. (author abstract)

Check out Research Connections Preschool Inclusion brief for additional resources in the Research Connections collection.

To see a complete list of new research, please view Archived New Research.

Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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