Evaluation of the Head Start Oral Health Initiative, 2006-2008

Project Overview

The Head Start Oral Health Initiative was created by the Office of Head Start to improve oral health services to young children, from birth to five years, and pregnant women. Supplemental grant funding was awarded to 52 Head Start programs to develop, implement, and disseminate culturally sensitive, innovative, and empirically-based best practice models that promote oral health education, and prevention. The funded projects developed innovative research-based systems or models of care that are appropriate for Head Start children and families served by the grantee or delegate agency; and disseminated lessons learned and models of care to other Head Start grantees as well as to the broader field.

OPRE and the Office of Head Start awarded a contract to Mathematica Policy Research Inc. to conduct an evaluation of the implementation of the Oral Health Initiative. The purpose of the evaluation was to document grantees’ implementation experiences and challenges, identify promising models and service delivery strategies, assess the feasibility of replication or expansion of the models in other programs and communities, and disseminate information about lessons learned to the broader Head Start community. Data collection activities focused on learning about program operations and service delivery strategies. The evaluation collected and analyzed information from three main sources: (1) telephone interviews with program directors from all 52 Oral Health Initiative grantees, (2) site visits to a subset of 16 grantees and (3) a recordkeeping system designed for use by all grantees.

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