Child Care Research Scholars, 2000-2015

Project Overview

Funds for Child Care Research Scholars grants are available to support dissertation research on child care policy issues in partnership with State Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) lead agencies.

Since 2000, Congress has appropriated about $10 million per year of CCDF discretionary funds to be used for child care research and evaluation. These funds have supported projects that add to our knowledge about the efficacy of child care subsidy policies and programs in supporting employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for parents, and providing positive learning and school readiness outcomes for children. Previously funded Child Care Research Scholars have made significant contributions to the child care policy research field.

To ensure that research is responsive to the changing needs of low-income families, partnerships between the graduate student, their mentor and the State CCDF lead agency are essential. This partnership ensures the research will be policy-relevant and is the foundation that fosters skills necessary to build the graduate student's career trajectory of successful partnership-building and contributions to the policy and scientific communities.

The specific goals of the Child Care Research Scholars grants are:

  1. To directly support graduate students as a way of encouraging the conduct of child care policy research. Along with supporting the student's training and professional development as researchers, these grants contribute to the knowledge base about best approaches to delivering services to diverse, low-income families and their children. Students are expected to become autonomous researchers who are connected to other professionals from diverse backgrounds across a variety of child care roles (e.g., State child care subsidy administrators, child care resource and referral staff, child care program directors and staff). The proposed research project may include independent studies conducted by the student or a well-defined portion of a larger study being conducted by the Principal Investigator holding a faculty position or senior research position. The graduate student must have primary responsibility for the proposed study described in the application, which should clearly distinguish between the student's portion of the research activities and those of the larger project.  Research projects must use sound quantitative or qualitative research methodologies or some combination of the two.
  2. To foster mentoring relationships between faculty members and graduate students who are pursuing doctoral-level research in the child care field.  Each student will work in partnership with a faculty mentor in order to foster the skills necessary to build a graduate student's career trajectory. Within this mentoring relationship, scholars are expected to become independent researchers with the skills necessary to address critical child care issues with a high level of technical quality.
  3. To encourage active communication, networking, and collaboration among graduate students, their mentors, and other senior child care researchers. Students whose work involves secondary analysis of large data sets are encouraged to work closely with one or more senior investigators on the original project.
  4. To encourage active communication, networking, and collaboration among graduate students, their mentors, and policymakers. Students whose projects involve community-level or administrative data research, including projects that directly respond to an immediate concern of a State child care subsidy administrator, are encouraged to work with an additional mentor from the field in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of child care policies and practices.

The points of contact for this project are Ann Rivera and Nina Hetzner.