ERIC Number: ED484318
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Feb
Reference Count: 41
The Role of Early Head Start Programs in Addressing the Child Care Needs of Low-Income Families with Infants and Toddlers: Influences on Child Care Use and Quality.
Love, John M.; Constantine, Jill; Paulsell, Diane; Boller, Kimberly; Ross, Christine; Raikes, Helen; Brady-Smith, Christy; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne
US Department of Health and Human Services Head Start Bureau
In 1994, the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Services for Families with Infants and Toddlers set forth a vision for Early Head Start programs in declaring that all child care settings used by Early Head Start families, whether or not the program provides the care directly, must meet the high standards of quality embodied in the Head Start Program Performance Standards. As part of the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation project, extensive data on the child care settings used by Early Head Start and control group families for their children at three ages (14, 24, and 36 months) was collected. This report describes the patterns of child care use by Early Head Start families and the impacts that program participation had on families' child care use and the quality of care used. A high proportion of Early Head Start families placed their children in child care during the evaluation period, with higher levels of child care use among those in center-based sites: overall, nearly two-thirds of 3-year-old Early Head Start children spent at least 30 hours per week in some kind of child care arrangement. Early Head Start children attending classrooms in Early Head Start centers consistently experienced good-quality care across the three ages. Using a measure of caregiver-child interactions developed for this evaluation (the Child- Caregiver Observation System, C-COS), it was found that in about half the observation periods coded, Early Head Start caregivers were observed talking with the focus child; the frequency of caregiver talk was greater in Early Head Start than in community centers when children were 3 years old. Very high percentages of Early Head Start parents reported being satisfied with their recent primary child care arrangement--they liked how much attention the child received, how much he or she was learning, its safety features, and how "good" they thought the provider was with children. These results demonstrate the highly important role Early Head Start programs have played in responding to the vision of the Advisory Committee on Services for Families with Infants and Toddlers. The following are appended: (1) Supplementary Tables; and (2) Procedures for Training and Establishing Reliability on the Classroom Observation Quality Measures. (Contains 8 tables and 30 figures.)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (DHHS), Washington, DC. Head Start Bureau.; Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, NJ.