Head Start is underfunded and unequal, according to a new study


Head Start, the federal program that provides education, nutrition and health services to low-income children and their families, is not adequately funded and is administered so differently from state to state that children do not benefit equally, according to a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research.

The 478-page report, “State(s) of Head Start,” released Wednesday, calls for a near tripling of the program’s budget — to more than $20 billion — to fully meet its goals for serving 3- and 4-year-old children living in poverty. It also points to wide gaps in Head Start programs related to quality of instruction, amount of instruction, access to programs and levels of funding.

“Despite decades of bipartisan support for Head Start, we conclude that the program suffers from inadequate overall public investment,” the report’s authors wrote. “Simply put, the program is not funded at a level that would make it possible to provide child development services of sufficient quality and duration to achieve its goals while serving all eligible children even at ages 3 and 4, much less for those under age 3.”

The report, which compiled program data from 50 states, the District of Columbia and six territories, provides a deeper understanding of who Head Start serves and where it operates best, said Steven Barnett, executive director of NIEER and one of the study’s authors. But it also makes clear, he says, how and where the program has fallen short.

“The percentage of poor kids that Head Start serves nationally could be as low as a quarter, meaning that 75 percent of the children in poverty are not getting Head Start,” Barnett said in an interview. “I don’t think people understand that. And then if you say that the intended population is not just kids who are poor, but kids who are near-poor, then I think people don’t understand that that’s half the children in the country.”

The report arrives as Donald Trump prepares to step into the White House amid uncertainty about funding priorities in the new administration. The Health and Human Services Department, which is expected to be led by Trump’s nominee, Tom Price (R-Georgia), runs Head Start.

Barnett said that while there are questions about the new administration’s plans, he believes there is reason to be optimistic…

Source: The Washington Post

Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/head-start-is-underfunded-and-unequal-according-to-a-new-study/2016/12/14/54b01b24-c095-11e6-897f-918837dae0ae_story.html

High-Quality Birth-to-Five Programs Produce a Greater Return on Investment


Professor James Heckman and colleagues have just released The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, the results of a new analysis demonstrating that high-quality birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children can deliver a 13% per year return on investment—a rate substantially higher than the 7-10% return previously established for preschool programs serving 3 and 4-year-olds.

Heckman’s team used data from FPG’s Abecedarian Project and FPG’s Carolina Approach to Responsive Education, and this new analysis includes the value of health outcomes, as well as the economic benefits of providing child care to mothers.

In a two-page research snapshot, Heckman and colleagues recommend “more and better” programs for young children in poverty.”Child poverty is growing in the United States,” they write. “Investing in comprehensive birth-to-five early childhood education is a powerful and cost-effective way to mitigate its negative consequences on child development and adult opportunity.”The authors also suggest that policymakers coordinate early childhood resources “into a scaffolding of developmental support for disadvantaged children” and that such support “provide access to all in need.”According to the researchers, “the gains are significant because quality programs pay for themselves many times over. The cost of inaction is a tragic loss of human and economic potential that we cannot afford.”

Source: FPG Child Development Institute

Available at: http://fpg.unc.edu/node/8730

Visual Storytelling for Social Change

We understand our world through stories: the heroes we aspire to be, the conflicts we identify with, the ideas that move us. Visual storytelling—whether a photo series, an online video, a long-form documentary or virtual reality—can capture our attention, generate deep empathy, and move us to take action.

The resources below are designed to help both seasoned and budding social change activists imagine and design stories that boost attention to issues, engage audiences more deeply, and increase the influence of campaigns.

Source: The Culture Lab

Available at: http://theculturelab.org/visual-storytelling-for-social-change/

A National Snapshot of State-Level Collaboration for Early Care and Education


The Child Care Collaboration Study, conducted by a research team at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), and funded by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, is designed to examine collaborations among child care administrators and providers at both the state and local levels and to determine whether different models of collaboration are related to access and quality of early care and education programs. The study comprises two phases, the first of which focuses on the national landscape regarding collaboration among child care administrators. The second phase builds on the findings from the first phase to examine relationships between state-and local-level collaborations in two specific states, Maryland and Vermont. This research brief focuses on the findings from the first phase of the study by describing collaboration among state early care and education leaders across the country and focusing on these leaders’ perceptions of the interactions among their respective agencies.

Source: Child Care Collaboration Study

Available at: http://ltd.edc.org/sites/ltd.edc.org/files/ChildCareCollabBrief2015.pdf

National Center on Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships (NCEHS-CCP) Evaluation


The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded 275 Early Head Start expansion and Early Head Start-child care partnership grants (EHS-CCP) in 50 states; Washington, DC; Puerto Rico; and the Northern Mariana Islands. These grants will allow new or existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers to expand high-quality early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers from low-income families.

NCEHS-CCP will support the effective implementation of new EHS-CCP grants by disseminating information through training and technical assistance (T/TA) and resources and materials. NCEHS-CCP is primarily targeted to T/TA providers working directly with the EHS-CCP grantees (including Office of Head Start (OHS) and Office of Child Care (OCC) National Centers, regional training and technical assistance (T/TA) specialists, and implementation planners and fiscal consultants). State and federal agencies (including OHS and OCC federal staff, Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) administrators, Head Start State and National Collaboration directors), as well as EHS-CCP grantees will also find helpful information on partnerships through NCEHS-CCP’s resources.

The NCEHS-CCP at ZERO TO THREE is proposing to conduct a descriptive study of NCEHS-CCP that will provide information that will document the activities and progress of NCEHS-CCP toward its goals and objectives. Findings from the evaluation will be translated into action steps to inform continuous quality improvement of NCEHS-CCP.

The proposed data collection activities for the descriptive study of NCEHS-CCP will include the following components:

Stakeholder survey. Web-based surveys will be conducted in the spring of 2016 and 2018 with key stakeholders (including OHS and OCC federal and national center staff, regional T/TA specialists, CCDF administrators, Head Start state and national collaboration office directors, and implementation planners and fiscal consultants). The stakeholder survey will collect information about the types of support they received from NCEHS-CCP in the past year, their satisfaction with the support, how the T/TA informed their work with EHS CCP grantees, and how support could be improved.

Stakeholder telephone interviews. Semi-structured telephone interviews will be conducted in spring of 2017 and 2019 with a purposively selected subgroup of stakeholders that complete the stakeholder survey. The interviews will explore in more detail the types of T/TA support participants received from NCEHS-CCP, how that support has informed their work with EHS-CCP grantees, their satisfaction with the support, successes and challenges, and suggestions for improvement.

This 60-Day Federal Register Notice covers the data collection activities for NCEHS-CCP and requests clearance for (1) the stakeholder survey, and (2) the stakeholder telephone interviews.

Source: Federal Register, Volume 80 Issue 207

Available at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-10-27/html/2015-27239.htm

Using Data to Measure Performance of Home Visiting


Across the country, state legislatures are turning to evidence-based policymaking to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. One example is family support and coaching. In response to research confirming that the early years of childhood affect learning, behavior, and health for a lifetime, many states have invested in these programs, commonly referred to as “home visiting.” Evidence shows that families that participate in home visiting programs, which focus on strengthening vulnerable families with children under age 5, are often more self-sufficient and better able to handle the challenge of parenting and to raise healthier, safer children.

However, for many reasons, including differences in family needs, culture, and the availability of supportive community services, past evidence of effectiveness alone does not necessarily lead to positive outcomes. Evidence must play an essential role throughout the life of the program, from legislation and planning to design and implementation. Ongoing performance monitoring is vital to understanding whether desired family and child outcomes are being realized. Several states have passed legislation to make home visiting programs more effective and accountable by requiring the agencies that oversee them to set goals and measure results.

Source: The PEW Charitable Trusts

Available at: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2015/10/using-data-to-measure-performance-of-home-visiting

The National Prekindergarten Evaluation Center Offers Assistance to States Applying for the Preschool Development Grant

September 8, 2014

The Preschool Development Grant program sponsored by the US Department of Education offers an exciting opportunity for states to build or enhance the quality of their early education programs and services, with an application deadline of October 14, 2014.

With increasing federal and state resources focused on early learning, now is the time to consider the need for systematic evaluation to document how well these investments are working. Evaluation research can help inform states’ efforts to build or enhance existing pre-k programs. However, many states do not have the existing infrastructure to conduct rigorous and well-designed evaluations that can provide useful information about the quality and effectiveness of these pre-k programs.

The National Pre-K and Early Learning Evaluation Center at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute FPG offers a range of services to help states design, implement, and evaluate their early learning programs. The National Pre-K Evaluation Center can help states scientifically design program components, study program effectiveness, make recommendations for program improvement, build capacity for future evaluation efforts, and assist with developing grant proposals. Our scientists have a long history of conducting research in the early education field, including long-standing statewide evaluations of public pre-k programs, evaluating QRIS frameworks, and specific expertise with special populations.

We look forward to speaking with you about how the National Pre-K Evaluation Center can create a customized plan to address the specific implementation and evaluation needs within your state.

To learn more about our Center, please email PreKEvalCenter@unc.edu.


Comprehensive Evaluation of the Child With Intellectual Disability or Global Developmental Delays

August 25, 2014

Global developmental delay and intellectual disability are relatively common pediatric conditions. This report describes the recommended clinical genetics diagnostic approach. The report is based on a review of published reports, most consisting of medium to large case series of diagnostic tests used, and the proportion of those that led to a diagnosis in such patients. Chromosome microarray is designated as a first-line test and replaces the standard karyotype and fluorescent in situ hybridization subtelomere tests for the child with intellectual disability of unknown etiology. Fragile X testing remains an important first-line test. The importance of considering testing for inborn errors of metabolism in this population is supported by a recent systematic review of the literature and several case series recently published. The role of brain MRI remains important in certain patients. There is also a discussion of the emerging literature on the use of whole-exome sequencing as a diagnostic test in this population. Finally, the importance of intentional comanagement among families, the medical home, and the clinical genetics specialty clinic is discussed.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/08/19/peds.2014-1839.abstract

Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality Measurement – Webinar for Administrators and Policymakers

Monday, September 8, 2014 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM EDT

Webinar Registration

Westat and Child Trends are hosting webinars on the Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality FPTRQ Measurement Development project, which has developed measures of provider/teacher practices that facilitate a positive family and provider or teacher relationships. This webinar is for state and local administrators and policymakers.

Webinar attendees will learn about:

  • The FPTRQ project;
  • FPTRQ’s conceptual model of family and provider/teacher relationships;
  • The development of the FPTRQ surveys;
  • A review of the psychometric properties of the FPTRQ constructs and subscales; and
  • How to administer, score, and use the surveys.

Source: Westat and Child Trends

Available at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/596330144

Maternal and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE) Check-In project–Update contact information, consent forms, child and family outcomes survey


The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), both of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is proposing a data collection activity as part of the Maternal and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation (MIHOPE) Check-In project. The purpose of the MIHOPE Check-In project is to maintain up-to-date contact information for families that participated in MIHOPE the national evaluation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, so it is possible to conduct future follow-up studies and assess the potential long-term impact of the program. In addition to contact information, the MIHOPE Check-In project will also maintain up-to-date consent forms for the collection of administrative data and administer a brief survey on child and family outcomes.

Source: Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 161

Available at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-08-20/html/2014-19717.htm