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- Who are the children served by MSHS programs?
- Who are the parents served by MSHS programs?
Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs provide child development, family support, and family engagement services to young children and their migrant and seasonal farmworker families. MSHS programs are designed to meet the unique needs of migrant and seasonally working families. MSHS programs usually provide bilingual services and sometimes operate in non-standard hours or in varying locations throughout the agricultural season.
This brief presents select characteristics of children and families served by Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs using data from the MSHS Study 2017.
This brief describes the characteristics of children and families in MSHS programs.
Key Findings and Highlights
- On average, more than one-third (36%) of children in MSHS centers are from seasonal farmworker families and less than two-thirds (64%) of children in MSHS centers are from migrant farmworker families.
- Nearly all (95%) of MSHS children were born in the United States.
- Nearly all (98%) MSHS children are Hispanic or Latino.
- Nearly all (97%) of MSHS children live with their biological mother, and more than three-quarters (77%) live with their biological father.
- More than three-quarters (76%) of MSHS parents were born in Mexico. Nearly twenty percent (20%) were born in the United States.
- Nearly all (98%) MSHS parents are Hispanic or Latino.
- More than one-third (36%) of MSHS parents have at least a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Nearly one-quarter (23%) of MSHS parents speak English very well, and fifteen percent (15%) speak English well.
- More than three-quarters (77%) of parents of MSHS children report that they have enough money each month to make ends meet.
- About two-thirds (68%) of MSHS parents report that they have no difficulty paying their bills each month.
- Most (86%) MSHS parents do not report eating less than they felt they should because there isn’t enough money to buy food.
The Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) Study 2017 provides a national picture of MSHS programs, centers, families, and children. The MSHS Study was designed through extensive engagement and input from the MSHS community to better understand:
- characteristics of MSHS programs, centers, staff, families, and children;
- services that MSHS provides;
- instructional practices in MSHS classrooms; and
- MSHS supports for child, parent, and family well-being.
This brief highlights selected MSHS Study findings collected from interviews with parents and surveys of MSHS Program Directors. The MSHS Study was conducted by Abt Associates in partnership with Catholic University of America and Westat. For additional information visit: /opre/research/project/migrant-and-seasonal-he...
This information may help Head Start better tailor services to the needs of MSHS children and their families and work collaboratively with MSHS programs around continuous program improvement. Understanding the characteristics of children and families participating in MSHS may also inform program decisions related to family needs, strengths, and resources as well as children’s developmental contexts. This information may be important for MSHS programs to consider as they identify the best ways to serve their communities.
Walker, A & Malin, J. (2020). Characteristics of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Children and Families: Select Findings from the MSHS Study 2017, OPRE Report #2020-15, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.