Child Care

Research in this area furthers our understanding of child care as a support for parental employment and for children’s developmental well being, and of the role of child care subsidies in allowing low-income working parents to balance work and family obligations.

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Projects on this Topic

Many human services programs are designed such that individuals must make active decisions and go through a series of steps in order to benefit from them — from deciding which programs to apply for, to completing forms, attending meetings, showing proof of eligibility, and arranging travel and child care...

The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency Capstone project, led by MDRC, synthesized the work of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project and conducted dissemination activities to ensure the results from BIAS were shared with a broad audience of research, policy, and practice stakeholders. BIAS Capstone furthered the dissemination work conducted for BIAS through a range of diverse activities and products...

The Center for Early Care and Education Research: Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL) is a cooperative agreement awarded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The primary goal of the Center...

The Design Options for Home Visiting Evaluation (DOHVE 2) project provided technical assistance related to data, research, and evaluation to Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program awardees. A few selected DOHVE products are included below. To access all DOHVE TA resources, please see: http://www.jbassoc.com/reports-publications/dohve Visit disclaimer page Visit disclaimer page.

This project (aka Design Phase for National Study of Child Care Supply and Demand) developed sampling and methodology options for a National Survey of Early Care and Education, with special focus on low-income households with children ages birth...

ACF’s Hispanic Research Work Group brings together experts in a wide range of content areas relevant to ACF’s mission to assist ACF/OPRE in identifying research priorities concerning low-income, Hispanic families.

ACF launched the Integrated Approaches to Supporting Child Development and Improving Family Economic Security project in September 2015. The goal of the project is to improve understanding of approaches that intentionally combine intensive, high quality, adult-focused services with intensive, high-quality, child-focused programs. Conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, this project will provide options for evaluating these emerging models...

 

The Mother and Infant Home Visiting Program Evaluation-Strong Start (MIHOPE-Strong Start) was launched in 2012 to evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based home visiting for improving prenatal and birth outcomes and reducing health care...

The National Study of Child Care of Low-Income Families project studied the low-income child care market in 25 communities in 17 states, with a sub-study to examine the family child care market in 5 neighborhoods drawn from these communities...

This contract aims to develop an evidence-informed research dissemination strategy for OPRE to improve the communication and usefulness of research and evaluation findings to targeted audiences...

This project examined associations between the quality of early care and education settings and child outcomes, asking whether certain thresholds of quality or dosage need to be met or particular aspects of quality need to be present before linkages are apparent. Interrelationships of these factors and relevance for different age groups of children between the ages of birth and 5-years participating in center-based care settings will also be considered...

The project will create resources for States regarding the evaluation of child care quality rating systems (QRSs), systems that have been put in place to measure, monitor, and promote high-quality child care. The project has five goals...

This project investigated how existing work on racial and ethnic disparities could inform more accurate identification and interpretation of ethnic and racial differences in programs administered by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Through this work, this project...

Since 2000, Congress has appropriated about $10 million per year of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) discretionary funds to be used for child care research and evaluation. These funds have supported projects that add to our knowledge about the...

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) is undertaking a descriptive study to document the approaches and strategies utilized by tribal organizations awarded cooperative agreements under the Coordination of Tribal TANF and Child Welfare...

The Language Minority Roundtable was a working meeting where invited participants engaged in critical dialogue regarding how research can support efforts of policymakers and practitioners to serve the language and literacy needs of young language...

In 2007, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded a research project, Supporting Quality in Home-Based Child Care, to...

The purpose of the TANF and CCDF Research Synthesis Project was to inform research planning and support evidence-based decision making related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) programs...

Effect sizes are increasingly applied to describe the magnitude of findings about program effectiveness across a range of policy contexts. Though more researchers are recognizing the importance of including effect sizes in manuscripts, at times these...
Good program evaluations assess program performance, measure impacts on families and communities, and document our success. With this information, programs are better able to direct limited resources to where they are most needed and most effective in...

Technology has become increasingly prevalent in early care and education settings, yet little is known about the effectiveness, function, and requirements for technologies that are available to early childhood programs. The purpose of this project was to review the knowledge base related to the use of technology to support the practice of early childhood practitioners who work directly with children and families. The review was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago...

The American Indian and Alaska Native Early Childhood Needs Assessment Project (AI/AN EC Needs Assessment) seeks to lay the foundation for understanding the need for early childhood services in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.  The project outlines a series of designs for future studies that will inform a national assessment of the unmet need for early childhood care, education, and home visiting services (prenatal to age 5) in tribal communities...

In 1997, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) was launched to provide descriptive, nationally representative information on the characteristics, experiences, and development of Head Start children and families, and the characteristics of the Head Start programs and staff who serve them. FACES has historically not included Region XI, whose programs are designed to serve predominantly American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) children and families.

Project Overview

Through this project, awarded to Mathematica Policy Research, ACF seeks to learn more about how states and communities coordinate early care and education, family economic security, and/or other health and human services to most efficiently and effectively serve the needs...

The goal of the Assessing the Implementation and Cost of High Quality Early Care and Education (ECE-ICHQ) project is to:

  • Produce technically sound, systematic measures of the implementation and costs of education and care in center-based settings that serve children birth to age 5
  • Produce implementation and cost measures that can be used with existing measures of quality to examine the variation in ECE center capacities and resources that can make a difference in the experiences of children...

The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project demonstrated that applying insights from behavioral science to challenges facing human services programs can improve program operations and outcomes at relatively low cost. The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency-Next Generation (BIAS-NG) project continues ACF’s exploration...

Many human services programs are designed such that individuals must make a series of decisions and take a number of active steps in order to realize a benefit. From deciding which programs to apply for, to completing forms, attending meetings, showing proof of eligibility, and arranging travel and child care, program designers often assume that individuals make decisions about how to proceed based on careful consideration of their options and best interests.

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families leads and supports investigation of the needs of Hispanic populations served by ACF and of promising approaches to promote social and economic well-being among low-income Hispanic families. The Center’s research focuses on early care and education; poverty reduction and economic self-sufficiency; and fatherhood, family structure, and family dynamics. In addition to generating new research to inform ACF programs and policies to better serve Hispanic children and families, the Center aims to build research capacity by providing tools, resources, and support for the research community and emerging scholars.

Project Overview

The Center for Supporting Research on Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Implementation supports the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in learning from The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Implementation Research and Evaluation Grants program...

The overall purpose of the Child Care Administrative Data Analysis Cooperative Agreements is to support Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies in conducting rigorous, policy-relevant research that primarily involves the analysis of child care...

Project Overview

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Implementation Research and Evaluation Grants program provides CCDF Lead Agencies the opportunity to (1) plan for and (2) evaluate initiatives and policies related to the CCDBG Act of 2014.

The Child Care Interstate Background Checks (CC-IBaCs) project seeks to fill gaps in knowledge to inform states’ and territories’ implementation of interstate background checks mandated by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. The project will identify...

The Child Care Policy Research Partnership (CCPRP) Grant Program supports active collaborations between Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies and researchers to investigate questions of immediate relevance to local and national child care policies and practices. The overarching goals of this grant program are to...

The CCDF Policies Database is a source of information on the detailed policies used to operate child care subsidy programs under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Since 2008, The Urban Institute has collected, coded, and disseminated the CCDF policies in effect across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories and outlying areas, using consistent methods across places and over time. The information in the CCDF Policies Database is based primarily on the documents that caseworkers use as they work with families and providers, as well as the CCDF Plans and amendments submitted by States/Territories to ACF, state law, and regulations used by the staff operating the program.

The Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis Project is a contract awarded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation to Child Trends...

OPRE’s child and family development work includes research and evaluation projects primarily concerned with child care and child welfare. This portfolio additionally examines the culturally diverse experiences of children and families served by ACF programs.

The purpose of this project is to explore how child care and Head Start programs can improve the quality of services received by young children, while institutionalizing continuous quality improvement activities. The project will design and assess the feasibility of implementing a specific approach to continuous quality improvement (CQI), the Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC), to promote the uptake and success of evidence-based practices around social and emotional learning (SEL) in both child care and Head Start settings.

The goal of this project was to develop a new measure that will assess the quality of child care settings, specifically the quality of caregiver-child interactions for infants and toddlers in non-parental care. The new measure is sensitive to the...

Project Overview

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) funds numerous data collection efforts through research studies on a wide-range...

Leadership is widely recognized as an essential driver of organizational performance and improvement, but little is known about its role in driving quality of early childhood programs and outcomes for staff and families. In launching the Early Care and Education Leadership Study (ExCELS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) seeks to fill the definitional and measurement gaps to help the early childhood field understand how effective leaders can improve quality experiences for families in early care and education (ECE) settings.

Funds for Child Care Research Scholars grants are available to support dissertation research on child care policy issues in partnership with State Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) lead agencies.

Since 2000, CCDF discretionary funds for child care research and evaluation have supported projects that add to our knowledge about the efficacy of child care subsidy policies and programs in supporting employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for parents, and providing positive learning and school readiness outcomes for children. Previously funded Child Care Research Scholars have made significant contributions to the child care policy research field.

The Head Start Graduate Student Research grant program is designed to build research capacity in and knowledge of effective early childhood interventions with low-income children and families. The grant program does this by providing support for dissertation research conducted by graduate students working in partnership with local Head Start or Early Head Start programs. Many former grantees have become leading researchers who continue to conduct research that informs and improves Head Start/Early Head Start, other early childhood intervention practices, and our understanding of low-income populations.

In 1997, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) was launched to provide descriptive, nationally representative information on the characteristics, experiences, and development of Head Start children and families, and the characteristics of the Head Start programs and staff who serve them...

This project investigates how the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act has affected markets and how states have approached implementation of reauthorization in different ways. The project includes a policy analysis, literature scan, roundtable with stakeholders from the child care field, and analysis of state Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) investments in child care quality improvements.

OPRE plays a central role in advancing understanding and disseminating knowledge about research and evaluation methods and tools that are, or could be, used to enhance knowledge about program and policy effectiveness. The purpose of the Methods Inquiries project is to organize...

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation worked in conjunction with the Office of Head Start and the Employment and Training Administration to develop, pilot and implement a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) Supplement to the National Agricultural Workers’ Survey (NAWS).

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) documented the nation's utilization and availability of early care and education (including school-age care) in 2012...

The Network of infant/toddler Researchers (NitR) consortium brings together leading applied researchers with policymakers and technical assistance providers responsible for overseeing and supporting early childhood programs serving families during pregnancy and the first three years of life.

The Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers (Q-CCIIT) observation tool was developed between 2010-2014 to assess the quality of early care and education (ECE) settings for infants and toddlers in non-parental care—specifically, the support that caregivers provide for the social-emotional, language and literacy, and cognitive development of infants and toddlers. The Professional Development Tools to Improve the Quality of Infant and Toddler Care...

This project builds on the earlier OPRE Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services (RED) project. RED helped build a base of knowledge to inform the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)’s identification and understanding of ethnic and racial differences across the service delivery system... 

In 2013, OPRE commissioned four interrelated reports on self-regulation and toxic stress from a team at the Center for Child and Social Policy at Duke University. That team and other experts have since created multiple practice-oriented resources grounded in the initial reports. Together, these reports and resources comprise the ‘Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress Series.’ 

Project Overview

This project will identify promising and innovative employment and training programs for low-income individuals that include TANF recipients and produce case studies of the selected programs. The programs...

The Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers (Q-CCIIT) observation tool is a reliable and valid research-based observational tool that measures the quality of interactions between infants and toddlers...

The purpose of the Study of Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-child care) Partnerships is to gain a better understanding of EHS‐child care partnerships aimed at supporting quality improvement, child development...

The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC) seeks to address gaps in early childhood research with American Indian and Alaska Natives through partnerships with tribal Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and home visiting programs. The goals of the research are:

The VIQI study will test how different levels and features of classroom quality relate to children’s developmental outcomes. The study will look at the relationship of initial child care and early education (CCEE) classroom quality to changes in observed quality and children’s outcomes through a rigorous experimental design...