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CAP Family Life Study: Year 2 report: September 30, 2011-September 29, 2012
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, 01 April, 2013
Tulsa, OK: Community Action Project of Tulsa County.

The present evaluation of CareerAdvance represents a strong collaboration between university research partners and CAP. The research partnership began in 2008 when nationally-recognized leaders in workforce program and policy development worked with CAP to design CareerAdvance, which was launched in 2009. In early 2010, national experts in developmental science broadened the research scope of the study to focus on children's development and family functioning in addition to parents' education, training, and financial well-being. CAP and its research partners then sought to expand the program and secure funding to examine the short-term synergistic effects of two-generation programs on parents and children. In September 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at Health and Human Services (HHS) funded a 5-year scale-up of CareerAdvance and a two-part evaluation study through the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Program. The research component of this first HPOG award included: (1) a short-term small-scale outcomes study; and (2) an implementation study. The initial short-term outcomes study has a one-year focus and examines several areas: program participation and advancement; career credentialing; job readiness; earnings; and a small set of child and family outcomes. The implementation study examines the systems-level influences on the structure and implementation of CareerAdvance, focusing on the degree to which the various training pathways are successfully offered, coordinated, and integrated. Recognizing the need to examine the longer-term influences of CareerAdvance, the research team secured funding from Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) University Partnership in September 2011 to conduct a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods study of all CareerAdvance participants and a matched comparison group. The goals of the second award are to examine: (1) possible long-term family, parent, and child outcomes as influenced by participation in CareerAdvance; as well as (2) variations in program participation and their potential links to differential patterns of educational attainment, employment, and family health and well-being. The full research project is now referred to as the CAP Family Life Study. A key goal of Year 2 was to build on and strengthen the organizational capacity to support the ambitious research agenda. During Year 2, the researchers have focused on (1) expanding the research team, developing partnerships, and facilitating team communication; (2) designing measures as informed by our theory of change; (3) collecting data from parents, children, teachers, and staff from both CareerAdvance and CAP using quantitative and qualitative methods; and (4) processing data from multiple sources and preparing it for analysis. (author abstract)

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CAP Family Life Study: Year 2 report: September 30, 2011-September 29, 2012 [Executive summary]
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, 01 April, 2013
Tulsa, OK: Community Action Project of Tulsa County.

The present evaluation of CareerAdvance represents a strong collaboration between university research partners and CAP. The research partnership began in 2008 when nationally-recognized leaders in workforce program and policy development worked with CAP to design CareerAdvance, which was launched in 2009. In early 2010, national experts in developmental science broadened the research scope of the study to focus on children's development and family functioning in addition to parents' education, training, and financial well-being. CAP and its research partners then sought to expand the program and secure funding to examine the short-term synergistic effects of two-generation programs on parents and children. In September 2010, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at Health and Human Services (HHS) funded a 5-year scale-up of CareerAdvance and a two-part evaluation study through the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Program. The research component of this first HPOG award included: (1) a short-term small-scale outcomes study; and (2) an implementation study. The initial short-term outcomes study has a one-year focus and examines several areas: program participation and advancement; career credentialing; job readiness; earnings; and a small set of child and family outcomes. The implementation study examines the systems-level influences on the structure and implementation of CareerAdvance, focusing on the degree to which the various training pathways are successfully offered, coordinated, and integrated. Recognizing the need to examine the longer-term influences of CareerAdvance, the research team secured funding from Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) University Partnership in September 2011 to conduct a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods study of all CareerAdvance participants and a matched comparison group. The goals of the second award are to examine: (1) possible long-term family, parent, and child outcomes as influenced by participation in CareerAdvance; as well as (2) variations in program participation and their potential links to differential patterns of educational attainment, employment, and family health and well-being. The full research project is now referred to as the CAP Family Life Study. A key goal of Year 2 was to build on and strengthen the organizational capacity to support the ambitious research agenda. During Year 2, the researchers have focused on (1) expanding the research team, developing partnerships, and facilitating team communication; (2) designing measures as informed by our theory of change; (3) collecting data from parents, children, teachers, and staff from both CareerAdvance and CAP using quantitative and qualitative methods; and (4) processing data from multiple sources and preparing it for analysis. (author abstract)

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CAP Family Life Study: Year 3 report: September, 2012-December, 2013
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, 01 April, 2014
Tulsa, OK: Community Action Project of Tulsa County.

CareerAdvance--administered by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa)--combines Head Start services with education and stackable training in the healthcare sector. The program draws on the best innovations from the adult education literature by offering a sequence of programs in partnership with community colleges so that participants can make concrete progress, exit at various points with certificates, and then return for further advancement. CareerAdvance also provides a number of key supportive components, including career coaches, financial incentives, and peer group meetings, to prepare parents for high-demand jobs in the healthcare sector. CareerAdvance is one of the only fully-operating, two-generation, human capital programs in the country. The CAP Family Life Study is a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods, multi-level study of CareerAdvance, in which we examine the short-term and longer-term effects of the program on family, parent, and child outcomes. The research team for the CAP Family Life Study includes P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Teresa Eckrich Sommer, and Terri Sabol from Northwestern University, Christopher King from the University of Texas at Austin, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn at Columbia University, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa at New York University. The current study investigates how variation in program participation is linked to different subgroup patterns of educational attainment, employment, and family health and well-being. The CAP Family Life Study includes a combination of primary quantitative and qualitative data collection and secondary data. For primary data collection, we conduct an array of parent, child, and teacher assessments and surveys. We are implementing a qualitative study that includes intensive individual interviews and focus groups with parents and CAP staff. We also collect and integrate existing data resources to enhance our primary data collection, including data from CAP Tulsa and Oklahoma administrative data. Collectively, the primary and secondary data provide an unprecedented opportunity to address the effects of a dual-generation workforce development program on low-income parents' and children's well-being. This report presents our progress in Year 3 of the CAP Family Life Study. This year we advanced the development and implementation of our two-generation evaluation design and conducted our first study on program persistence and educational success for CareerAdvance parents. We expanded our data collection to include Wave 3 data collection for Cohort 4, Wave 2 data collection for Cohorts 5 and 6, and baseline data collection for Cohorts 7 and 8. We also selected the matched comparison group for Cohorts 7 and 8, using the same advanced statistical matching technique used for previous cohorts to select parents who closely match CareerAdvance participants. We continue to find that the matched comparison and CareerAdvance groups have similar baseline characteristics, which is central to the success of the study (see Section 2). In addition, a key goal of Year 3 was to better understand how participants progress through CareerAdvance, and how this program compares to similar workforce training and education programs for low-income students. We made important progress in defining and coding participants' progress in CareerAdvance to understand educational persistence, advancement, and achievement. We also conducted a literature review on existing workforce development programs and find that persistence in CareerAdvance after one year is equal to and some cases surpasses that of similar programs. (author abstract)

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CAP Family Life Study: Year 3 report: September, 2012-December, 2013 [Executive summary]
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, 01 April, 2014
Tulsa, OK: Community Action Project of Tulsa County.

CareerAdvance--administered by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa)--combines Head Start services with education and stackable training in the healthcare sector. The program draws on the best innovations from the adult education literature by offering a sequence of programs in partnership with community colleges so that participants can make concrete progress, exit at various points with certificates, and then return for further advancement. CareerAdvance also provides a number of key supportive components, including career coaches, financial incentives, and peer group meetings, to prepare parents for high-demand jobs in the healthcare sector. CareerAdvance is one of the only fully-operating, two-generation, human capital programs in the country. The CAP Family Life Study is a quasi-experimental, mixed-methods, multi-level study of CareerAdvance, in which we examine the short-term and longer-term effects of the program on family, parent, and child outcomes. The research team for the CAP Family Life Study includes P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Teresa Eckrich Sommer, and Terri Sabol from Northwestern University, Christopher King from the University of Texas at Austin, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn at Columbia University, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa at New York University. The current study investigates how variation in program participation is linked to different subgroup patterns of educational attainment, employment, and family health and well-being. The CAP Family Life Study includes a combination of primary quantitative and qualitative data collection and secondary data. For primary data collection, we conduct an array of parent, child, and teacher assessments and surveys. We are implementing a qualitative study that includes intensive individual interviews and focus groups with parents and CAP staff. We also collect and integrate existing data resources to enhance our primary data collection, including data from CAP Tulsa and Oklahoma administrative data. Collectively, the primary and secondary data provide an unprecedented opportunity to address the effects of a dual-generation workforce development program on low-income parents' and children's well-being. This report presents our progress in Year 3 of the CAP Family Life Study. This year we advanced the development and implementation of our two-generation evaluation design and conducted our first study on program persistence and educational success for CareerAdvance parents. We expanded our data collection to include Wave 3 data collection for Cohort 4, Wave 2 data collection for Cohorts 5 and 6, and baseline data collection for Cohorts 7 and 8. We also selected the matched comparison group for Cohorts 7 and 8, using the same advanced statistical matching technique used for previous cohorts to select parents who closely match CareerAdvance participants. We continue to find that the matched comparison and CareerAdvance groups have similar baseline characteristics, which is central to the success of the study (see Section 2). In addition, a key goal of Year 3 was to better understand how participants progress through CareerAdvance, and how this program compares to similar workforce training and education programs for low-income students. We made important progress in defining and coding participants' progress in CareerAdvance to understand educational persistence, advancement, and achievement. We also conducted a literature review on existing workforce development programs and find that persistence in CareerAdvance after one year is equal to and some cases surpasses that of similar programs. (author abstract)

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CareerAdvance Outcomes Study: Year 1 report: September 30, 2010-September 29, 2011
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, 09 February, 2012
Tulsa, OK: Community Action Project of Tulsa County.

The CAP Family Life Study has demonstrated a promising start in supporting the ambitious research agenda. Thus far, the university partners have developed the design and infrastructure across multiple institutions and agencies. These include: (1) creating the organizational capacity of the research team; (2) designing the quasi-experimental design of the study; (3) developing data systems; (4) designing the parent survey; and (5) selecting and recruiting families into the study. Although CAP enrolled 3 cohorts of participants between 2009 and 2011, the Family Life Study, as funded by ACF, begins with Cohort 4. Cohort 1-3 includes 35 parents in the nursing track. The health information technology (HIT) was added for Cohort 4, and so Cohort 4 includes 14 parents in the nursing track, and 15 parents in HIT. (A detailed description of Cohorts 1-3 can be found in the Implementation Report; see Section 1 Appendix). A key goal of Year 1 was also to develop a theory of change (presented in Section 3 of this report) and design a study that examines the influence of CareerAdvance on children and parents. In terms of testing possible change in parents and children over time, ideally we would have employed a randomized control trial to examine the causal effects of CareerAdvance on short- and long-term outcomes. However, the program is relatively new, and CAP's immediate goal is to expand CareerAdvance to all of its early childhood education centers with a seven-fold increase in participants over five years (from 29 participants in 2011 to approximately 210 participants in 2015). A randomized trial from a waitlist will be feasible only when the program is oversubscribed. In order to account for the potentially non-random selection of participants in CareerAdvance, we employed propensity score matching to identify pairs of families who are statistically indistinguishable on observable characteristics and behaviors except for the fact that one parent is enrolled in CareerAdvance and one is not. Propensity score matching used CAP's data set that was drawn from families' enrollment forms and meetings with support staff. As of January 2012, the CAP Family Life Study included all 29 Cohort 4 CareerAdvance participants and 30 matched-comparison families. Overall, our results indicate that the comparison group is relatively well-matched to Cohort 4 CareerAdvance participants across a number of demographic and psychological characteristics. Of note is that independent data from our individual interviews with parents confirm the strong equivalence of the matched-comparison group to the CareerAdvance participants. Focus group data collected in December 2011 with 25 of the 29 CareerAdvance Cohort 4 Nursing and Health Information Track participants indicate that CareerAdvance is highly valued by parents and may have important dual-generation influences. Parents seem to gain, for example, from increased confidence in returning to school, intensive peer and staff support, and enrolling in an all-expense paid training program. Children and parents appear to benefit from the learning and role modeling that occurs when their parents return to school. We find support for the peer cohort model of the program, especially its potential influence on educational persistence. Moreover, we have initial indications of important changes in parent-child interactions in the home that may influence positively children's development and academic achievement, as well as improve parenting practices. Bi-annual focus groups and longitudinal interview data will test further these hypotheses and provide important insights into the most effective elements of the CareerAdvance training program and its potential for longer term impact on the academic, career, and financial success of parents and children. This report reflects the development of a dual-generation evaluation design and initial baseline characteristics of the first cohort under study. (author abstract)

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CareerAdvance Outcomes Study: Year 1 report: September 30, 2010-September 29, 2011 [Executive summary]
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, 09 February, 2012
Tulsa, OK: Community Action Project of Tulsa County.

The CAP Family Life Study has demonstrated a promising start in supporting the ambitious research agenda. Thus far, the university partners have developed the design and infrastructure across multiple institutions and agencies. These include: (1) creating the organizational capacity of the research team; (2) designing the quasi-experimental design of the study; (3) developing data systems; (4) designing the parent survey; and (5) selecting and recruiting families into the study. Although CAP enrolled 3 cohorts of participants between 2009 and 2011, the Family Life Study, as funded by ACF, begins with Cohort 4. Cohort 1-3 includes 35 parents in the nursing track. The health information technology (HIT) was added for Cohort 4, and so Cohort 4 includes 14 parents in the nursing track, and 15 parents in HIT. (A detailed description of Cohorts 1-3 can be found in the Implementation Report; see Section 1 Appendix). A key goal of Year 1 was also to develop a theory of change (presented in Section 3 of this report) and design a study that examines the influence of CareerAdvance on children and parents. In terms of testing possible change in parents and children over time, ideally we would have employed a randomized control trial to examine the causal effects of CareerAdvance on short- and long-term outcomes. However, the program is relatively new, and CAP's immediate goal is to expand CareerAdvance to all of its early childhood education centers with a seven-fold increase in participants over five years (from 29 participants in 2011 to approximately 210 participants in 2015). A randomized trial from a waitlist will be feasible only when the program is oversubscribed. In order to account for the potentially non-random selection of participants in CareerAdvance, we employed propensity score matching to identify pairs of families who are statistically indistinguishable on observable characteristics and behaviors except for the fact that one parent is enrolled in CareerAdvance and one is not. Propensity score matching used CAP's data set that was drawn from families' enrollment forms and meetings with support staff. As of January 2012, the CAP Family Life Study included all 29 Cohort 4 CareerAdvance participants and 30 matched-comparison families. Overall, our results indicate that the comparison group is relatively well-matched to Cohort 4 CareerAdvance participants across a number of demographic and psychological characteristics. Of note is that independent data from our individual interviews with parents confirm the strong equivalence of the matched-comparison group to the CareerAdvance participants. Focus group data collected in December 2011 with 25 of the 29 CareerAdvance Cohort 4 Nursing and Health Information Track participants indicate that CareerAdvance is highly valued by parents and may have important dual-generation influences. Parents seem to gain, for example, from increased confidence in returning to school, intensive peer and staff support, and enrolling in an all-expense paid training program. Children and parents appear to benefit from the learning and role modeling that occurs when their parents return to school. We find support for the peer cohort model of the program, especially its potential influence on educational persistence. Moreover, we have initial indications of important changes in parent-child interactions in the home that may influence positively children's development and academic achievement, as well as improve parenting practices. Bi-annual focus groups and longitudinal interview data will test further these hypotheses and provide important insights into the most effective elements of the CareerAdvance training program and its potential for longer term impact on the academic, career, and financial success of parents and children. This report reflects the development of a dual-generation evaluation design and initial baseline characteristics of the first cohort under study. (author abstract)

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Early enrichment opportunities: Participation and cognitive benefits in kindergarten
Malone, Lizabeth M.,
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children and Families.

Children's out-of-school time in elementary school can include after-school programs, informal child care, extracurricular activities, and experiences and activities with family in the home and community. This paper focuses on kindergartners' extracurricular activities and use of community resources and impact of participation on spring achievement. (author abstract)

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Head Start and children's nutrition, weight, and health care receipt
Lee, RaeHyuck, Q4 2013
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(4), 723-733

Using a sample of low-income children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N [is approximately] 4350) and propensity-score weighted regressions, we analyzed children's nutrition, weight, and health care receipt at kindergarten entry, comparing (1) Head Start participants and all non-participants, and (2) Head Start participants and children in prekindergarten, other center-based care, other non-parental care, or only parental care. Overall, we found that compared to all non-participants, Head Start participants were more likely to receive dental checkups but showed no differences in getting medical checkups; they were also more likely to have healthy eating patterns but showed no differences in Body Mass Index (BMI), overweight, or obesity. However, these results varied depending on the comparison group-Head Start participants showed lower BMI scores and lower probability of overweight compared to those in other non-parental care, and the effects on healthy eating and dental checkups differed by comparison group. (author abstract)

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Head Start, prekindergarten, and academic school readiness: A comparison among regions in the United States
Zhai, Fuhua, May, 2013
Journal of Social Service Research, 39(3), 345-364

Child care programs (including Head Start, prekindergarten [pre-K], and other center-based care) can differ, with patterns of use based on their location. Yet little research has examined how Head Start and pre-K programs affect children's academic school readiness, including vocabulary and reading skills at school entry, in the South as compared to other regions. To examine this further, secondary data (n=2,803) collected in the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study were examined. Overall findings suggest, regardless of region, that Head Start and pre-K participants had higher academic skills at school entry than did their counterparts. In addition, when Head Start was compared to other center-based care and pre-K was compared to other care arrangements, both had larger effects on improving academic skills in the South compared with in other regions. These findings imply that Head Start and pre-K programs should target children who otherwise would receive nonparental non-center-based care. Future research should focus on why the effects of Head Start and pre-K vary between the South and other regions. (author abstract)

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Investing in our future: The evidence base on preschool education
Yoshikawa, Hirokazu, October, 2013
Ann Arbor, MI: Society for Research in Child Development.

A review of research on the relationship of preschool participation to children's developmental outcomes

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Investing in our future: The evidence base on preschool education: Executive summary
Yoshikawa, Hirokazu, October, 2013
Ann Arbor, MI: Society for Research in Child Development.

A summary of a review of research on the relationship of preschool participation to children's developmental outcomes

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Longitudinal associations among interest, persistence, supportive parenting, and achievement in early childhood
Martin, Anne, Q4 2013
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(4), 658-667

This study investigates two facets of children's school readiness: interest in new cognitive tasks (interest) and persistence in task completion (persistence). Little attention has been paid to the early development of these learning behaviors, although they might prove susceptible to intervention even before school entry. Using data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, a sample of low-income children (N = 1771) was followed to model bidirectional associations among interest and persistence and maternal supportive parenting between ages 1 and 3, and estimate associations between children's interest and persistence at age 3 and their academic skills at age 5. Results indicate that maternal supportive parenting influences children's interest and persistence more strongly and consistently than interest or persistence influences parenting, and that interest but not persistence transacts with parenting over time. Interest and persistence were equally predictive of children's early academic skills. Findings affirm that both interest and persistence during toddlerhood predict children's academic standing at school entry. (author abstract)

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A multilevel analysis of the links between youth's after-school time activities and their well-being
Fauth, Rebecca,
New York: Columbia University, National Center for Children and Families.

Many questions remain about how various types of participation (i.e., specific activities, duration) or participation for diverse youth relate to youth development. In this study we address both these issues by investigating how participation in specific activities over time influences adolescents' well-being and how the impact of participation varies for youth living in different neighborhoods. (author abstract)

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Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, Spring 2014
The Future of Children, 24(1), 13-39

This article integrates theories from developmental science, economics, and education to evaluate the assumptions that underlie two-generation programs, to outline possible mechanisms through which these programs affect children, to synthesize and critique what has been tried to date, and to describe emerging programs across the nation. Our bottom line: The jury is out and will be for some time regarding whether new human capital two-generation programs can be successfully implemented, as pilot programs or at scale. (author abstract)

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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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