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Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project
United States. Administration for Children and Families,
Education Resources Information Center

This project involves both a cross-site national study and local longitudinal studies of low-income families with young children in Early Head Start sites in 17 communities in the United States. The project was funded in two waves: Birth to Three (1996-2001) and Pre-Kindergarten Follow-Up (2001-2004). The five major components of the project are: an implementation study, an impact evaluation, local research studies, policy studies, and efforts toward continuous program improvement. The implementation study assessed the level and quality of implementation of EHS at each site, as well as variations across sites, with regard to five program areas: child development and health care; family partnerships; community involvement and partnerships; staff development; and program management. Results include a profile of each of the 17 research programs, their services and expected outcomes. The information gathered was critical for the development of the impact evaluation analyses and the identification of pathways to full implementation. The impact evaluation followed a random assignment, longitudinal design to examine how child, parent and family outcomes were influenced by EHS programs, as well as by variations in program approaches and community contexts, program implementation and services, and the characteristics of children and their families. The third component involves 16 local research projects conducted by 15 university-based researchers who partnered with Early Head Start research programs. Designed to investigate the unique outcomes and program functions of each Early Head Start program, these longitudinal studies continue through the second phase of the project, Pre-Kindergarten Follow-up (2001-2004). The policy studies component focuses on issues related to welfare reform, health and disabilities, child-care and fatherhood. The component of continuous program improvement consists of reports and presentations disseminating new information that can help all Early Head Start programs to increase their ability to meet the needs of families.

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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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