Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: Providing Comprehensive Services to Infants and Toddlers and Their Families

Publication Date: July 9, 2020
This is the cover of Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: Providing Comprehensive Services to Infants and Toddlers and Their Families

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  • Published: 2020

Introduction

Research Questions

  1. What comprehensive services did EHS-CC Partnerships offer to children enrolled in partnership slots and their families? To what extent did child care partners report offering comprehensive services before engaging in the EHS-CC Partnership grant?
  2. To what extent did EHS-CC Partnerships offer comprehensive services to children in nonpartnership slots and their families?
  3. Who provides comprehensive services to children and families in EHS-CC Partnerships? That is, does the child care or EHS partner provide services directly to children and families, or does the EHS-CC Partnership refer children and families to services that community partners provide?

When combined with high quality early care and education, comprehensive services are intended to support families in their role as caregivers and foster the health and well-being of children. Connecting children and families to these services is a foundational feature of the Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) models.

Partnerships between EHS and other early care and education settings hold promise for expanding access to comprehensive services for infants, toddlers, and their families. Specifically, EHS-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships may extend the reach of comprehensive services to all children enrolled in partnering child care centers and family child care homes (that is, children in partnership and nonpartnership slots).

This brief draws on data from the national descriptive study of EHS-CC Partnerships to describe the range of services offered to children in both partnership and nonpartnership slots and their families.  The national descriptive study was designed to develop a rich knowledge base about the EHS programs, community-based child care centers, and family child care providers participating in a 2015 federal grants program supporting the development of EHS-CC Partnerships and aiming to increase access to high quality infant-toddler care for low-income families.

Purpose

The purpose of this brief is to describe the range of services EHS and child care programs provide to children and families through EHS-CC Partnerships. Using data from the national descriptive study of EHS-CC Partnerships, this brief documents how partnerships work to provide comprehensive services to children and families in both partnership and nonpartnership slots. The information and lessons learned aim to inform ongoing and future activities of partnerships in early care and education programs as well as training and technical assistance efforts.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Consistent with EHS requirements, partnership programs offered a wide range of comprehensive services to children and families who received care through EHS-CC Partnership grant funds.
    • Most EHS-CC Partnerships offered screenings and other services to children.
    • EHS-CC Partnerships offered a range of services to parents and caregivers of children in partnership slots, including services to support families as children transition to new early care and education programs; to support parenting skills and parents’ knowledge of child development; and to help the families move toward self-sufficiency.
    • Most child care partners engaged in individualized family goal planning with enrolled families and conducted home visits with families of children in partnership slots.
  • Many programs also offered at least one service to children and families whose care was not supported by the EHS-CC Partnership grant.
  • For most types of comprehensive services for children, EHS partners were responsible for providing services; EHS-CC Partnerships also commonly referred children to community partners for services. Comprehensive services for families were provided primarily by community partners via referral or by the EHS partner directly.

Methods

This brief draws on national descriptive study data gathered from two sources:

  1. A web-based survey of the 250 EHS Expansion and EHS-CC Partnership grantees that received funding in 2015 for EHS-CC Partnerships. Data were collected following the first year of implementation, approximately 12 to 18 months after receiving the grant.
  2. A web-based survey of a sample of 470 child care partners, including child care center directors and family child care providers.

This brief includes results for the 220 grantees and 386 child care partners with completed web-based surveys.

Citation

Del Grosso, P., Thomas, J., Fung, N., Levere, M., & Albanese, S. (2020). Providing Comprehensive Services to Infants and Toddlers and Their Families: Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, OPRE Report # 2020-70, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Glossary

EHS partner:
Organization that received an EHS-CC Partnership grant award in 2015
Child care partner:
Child care center or family child care home that partners with a grantee or delegate agency to provide services to enrolled infants and toddlers.
Partnership:
The formal relationship between an EHS program and a child care center or family child care home to provide program services to enrolled infants and toddlers.
EHS-CC Partnerships (Partnerships):
EHS partner and all of the child care partners that work together to provide services to enrolled families and their infants and toddlers.
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