Conversion of Enrollment Slots from Head Start to Early Head Start

2020 - 2025

Converting enrollment slots from Head Start to Early Head Start (i.e., shifting funding from services for Head Start preschool-age children to Early Head Start services for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) necessitates strategic planning and the careful development and implementation of new processes to ensure high quality service delivery tailored to the unique needs of pregnant women, infants, and toddlers and delivered in accordance with the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

This project examines how and why Head Start grantees prepare for and engage in enrollment conversions and aims to identify facilitators and barriers to the provision of high quality Early Head Start services that meet community needs.

In particular, this project aims to address research questions, such as:

  • What are the characteristics and features of grantees that convert enrollment slots from Head Start to Early Head Start?
  • What are grantees’ rationales and/or motivations for converting enrollment slots from Head Start to Early Head Start?
  • How do grantees prepare for and convert enrollment slots from Head Start to Early Head Start?
  • How do grantees leverage data to support the enrollment conversion process and assess community needs?
  • How do grantees determine if and how they are meeting community needs?
  • What are the facilitators and barriers to conversion of enrollment slots from Head Start to Early Head Start?
  • What are the facilitators and barriers to high quality service delivery after conversion of enrollment slots from Head Start to Early Head Start?

The project is exploring how answers to the above questions may vary based upon factors, such as:

  • History or experience implementing Early Head Start;
  • The proportion of enrollment slots or classrooms undergoing conversion to Early Head Start;
  • Community characteristics and need (e.g., enrollment supply and/or demand, availability of public pre-K or other early care and education programs); or
  • Program characteristics (e.g., program option(s) offered, organizational capacity, program size, or characteristics of children and families served).

The project will be conducted by Urban Institute in partnership with MEF Associates.

Point(s) of contact: Jenessa Malin and Krystal Bichay-Awadalla