Child Care Research and Evaluation Capacity Building Center (Child Care ECB Center)

2019 - 2024

State, Territory, and Tribal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies are increasingly asked to use, conduct, and disseminate high-quality, rigorous, and policy-relevant research on early care and education. They are also expected to use research and evidence to inform their decisions. However, lead agencies vary in their evaluation capacities. More information is needed to understand gaps and particular needs in the current research and evaluation capacity among agencies and better target support to build these capacities.

The Child Care Research and Evaluation Capacity Building Center (Center) will assess and build the research and evaluation capacities of State, Territory, and Tribal CCDF Lead Agencies. The Center will engage with stakeholders in planning activities and developing strategies. The Center will also focus on supporting individual and organizational research and evaluation capacity to create sustained change that lasts beyond the turnover of individual staff and the changing policies and priorities of federal and state policymakers.

The Center will:

  1. assess the research and evaluation capacity-building needs of State, Territory, and Tribal CCDF Lead Agencies through a web-based survey and focus groups;
  2. provide universal capacity-building resources and activities to support all CCDF Lead Agencies in conducting, understanding, consuming, and using research and evaluation for decision making (this includes facilitating agency use of state CCDF administrative data);
  3. facilitate cross-project collaboration between the 2019 cohort of the Child Care Policy Research Partnership grantees and disseminate their work for policy and programmatic audiences;
  4. provide intensive capacity-building support to selected CCDF Lead Agencies that would benefit from tailored support; and
  5. conduct other special activities or analyses to support research and evaluation capacity building.

In 2019, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded a contract to the Urban Institute with a subcontract to Mathematica to develop and operate the Center.

The points of contact are Meryl Barofsky, Alysia Blandon, Sarah Blankenship, Krystal Bichay-Awadalla.

Related Resources

Explore how Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Agencies can identify, engage, and involve stakeholders.

This list includes resources useful to researchers and agency staff who analyze state-level early care and education (ECE) administrative data for research purposes. The resource list emphasizes materials that explain how to acquire, use, manage, link, and analyze administrative data in early childhood or related fields.

This webinar is designed to support Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agency staff, their research partners, and others in using data to inform decisionmaking related to child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The webinar covers (1) a presentation from two researchers doing research in Louisiana on how surveys can inform early childhood policy and practical considerations to take into account when fielding surveys; (2) a presentation from a researcher at the Urban Institute on tips for writing good survey questions; and (3) comments from state agency staff in Virginia, sharing the perspective of a policy-maker around child care provider surveys during COVID-19...