American Indian and Alaska Native Early Childhood Needs Assessment (AI/AN EC Needs Assessment) Design Project, 2014 – 2017

The American Indian and Alaska Native Early Childhood Needs Assessment Project (AI/AN EC Needs Assessment) seeks to lay the foundation for understanding the need for early childhood services in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The project outlines a series of designs for future studies that will inform a national assessment of the unmet need for early childhood care, education, and home visiting services (prenatal to age 5) in tribal communities.

The AI/AN EC Needs Assessment Community of Learning (CoL) was formed to share a range of perspectives on the AI/AN EC Needs Assessment, especially cultural considerations based on firsthand experiences with AI/AN children, families, and programs as well as conducting research in tribal communities. The CoL is composed of tribal practitioners and research partners from each of the ACF services of interest (Head Start and Early Head Start, child care, and home visiting); researchers from the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center and Mathematica Policy Research; and federal staff from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Office of Head Start, Office of Child Care, and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development.

The project produced a final report that outlined considerations for three designs:

  • Design One will describe the population of AI/AN children and families and their participation in early childhood services based on existing data sources. To the extent possible, this design will provide a broad picture of the programs and providers serving AI/AN children and families at a national level.
  • Design Two will study service organization and delivery systems in AI/AN communities, including the current number of children served and not served, workforce capacity, and cultural resources at the community level and will involve new data collection.
  • Design Three will assess key features needed to support AI/AN communities’ capacity for conducting early childhood needs assessments at the community level and will involve new data collection.

In 2017, the project released a second report that presents the process and findings from implementing Design One with a set of national survey and ACF administrative data sources.

Mathematica Policy Research is the contractor for this project.

The point of contact is Meryl Yoches Barofsky.

Related Resources

There is little national data about the need for early childhood and health services for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children. This brief summarizes existing data to create a national picture of the AI/AN population of young children and their families, and their access to and participation in early childhood services using the 2010—2014 American Community Survey.

This report describes preliminary work in support of an early childhood needs assessment for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children prenatal to age five.  The report uses existing data to describe the population of AI/AN children and families and their participation in early childhood services...

This report describes three potential designs for studies to assess the needs for early care and education and home visiting among American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.

For each of the three options, the report presents...