Survey of Early Head Start Programs, 2003-2008

Ever since the inception of Early Head Start, research has been an integral part of the program. At the same time the first Early Head Start programs began operating, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) initiated an evaluation of Early Head Start. The Survey of Early Head Start program is the first step in a planned series of ongoing descriptive studies of Early Head Start. The second phase is the Early Head Start Family and Childhood Experiences Study (Baby FACES). The Early Head Start Program Performance Measures provide the conceptual framework for these descriptive studies.

The survey of all Early Head Start programs focused on management and services, as well as on the families served. Findings provide key information designed to help policymakers and training and technical assistance providers. Our research objectives were to (1) Describe Early Head Start and who it serves, (2) Provide a needs assessment and support program planning at the national level, (3) Provide information that will be helpful for planning the next steps in a research agenda for Early Head Start, (4) Provide a benchmark for future descriptive studies that can be used to assess changes in services and outcomes nationally over time, and (5) Guide individual programs on the outcomes and measures to select for their own performance measurement. The study consisted of two components, a survey of all Early Head Start programs and in-depth site visits to 17 programs.

Evaluation Team

Federal Project Officer:

Rachel Chazan Cohen
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Administration for Children and Families, DHHS
370 L'Enfant Promenade SW, 7th Floor W
Washington, DC 20447

Following a competitive procurement process, ACF contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) of Princeton, New Jersey, to conduct the survey. Dr. Cheri Vogel was the project director and led the team, that consisted of Linda Mendenko, the survey director, Andrew Burwick, the site visit task leader, and Laura Hawkinson, analyst. Other key MPR staff for analysis and site visiting included: Dr. Louisa Tarullo, Thomas McCall, Emily Samma Martin, Barbara Schiff, and Angela Richardson, and Nikki Aikens. Dr. Ellen Kisker served as a senior consultant for the project.

Related Resources

Early Head Start is a comprehensive, two-generation federal initiative begun in 1995 and aimed at enhancing the…

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has funded Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), a nationally…