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ERIC Number: ED639924
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2023-Nov
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Theory of Change for Coordination and Individualization of Family Support Services in Head Start Programs. OPRE Report 2023-304
Michelle F. Maier
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Head Start uses a whole-family approach to support the well-being of children and families with low incomes. As a two-generation model, Head Start provides comprehensive services for families and children from birth through age 5, and family support services for parents. Intentional alignment and coordination across these services is expected to lead to positive outcomes for families and their children. This brief introduces a theory of change focused on one distinct and understudied aspect of the coordinated services provided by Head Start's model: family support services. Through family support services, Head Start programs aim to help families identify and reach "their goals and dreams" by directly providing them with or referring them to services that support those goals and build on individual strengths. These support services address needs regarding education and employment, financial capability, housing and food assistance, emergency and crisis intervention, substance use treatment, physical health, and mental health, among others. Determining families' strengths and needs, identifying relevant support services, communicating with service providers, and helping families access services--that is, the "coordination of family support services"--in combination with the child-focused services, is expected to promote families' safety, health, and economic security.
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Administration for Children & Families, US Department of Health and Human Services, 330 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20201. Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Administration for Children and Families (DHHS), Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE); NORC at the University of Chicago; MEF Associates; MDRC
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Head Start
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A