Program Models in Early Head Start: Research to Practice Brief

Publication Date: January 15, 2003

Introduction

Early Head Start programs can select alternative service options to meet children’s needs. Programs decide which options to offer children and their families after completing an intensive community assessment of family needs. Programs reassess community needs every 3 years and may change available options accordingly. For example, one program that began offering home-based services added a center-based option because some families needed child care. Theories of change and outcomes found in different program models were studied in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (Administration for Children and Families [ACF], 2002a; ACF, 2002b). The findings suggest ways program models can be improved and questions to raise when programs evaluate which options best fit their families’ needs.

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