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CHARACTERISTICS OF INFANTS, YOUNG CHILDREN, AND THEIR FAMILIES IN CHILD SERVICE SETTINGS

SUMMARY

This session was chaired by Aria Crump (NIDA). Speaker Lauren Supplee (ACF) presented on the structure of Head Start and Early Head Start and the demographics of children and families who participate in those programs; and Margaret Burchinal (University of North Carolina) presented data on children and families who use diverse child care settings, including home-based or parental care versus center-based care. Highlights of the discussion, moderated by Brenda Jones Harden (University of Maryland), focused on the extensive data sets available on demographics, risk status, and family factors for Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care utilization. Consequently, these can provide potential contexts for Type II prevention intervention research.

Head Start and Early Head Start: Structure, Demographics of Children and Families, and Outcomes
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Head Start and Early Head Start: Structure, Demographics of Children and Families, and Outcomes
Lauren Supplee, Ph.D.

Head Start and Early Head Start are presented as potential contexts for prevention and intervention research. The organizational structure of both programs, demographics of the population served, and the outcomes of program participation for both children and families are described. The organizational structure includes information on the policy councils, parent involvement, special populations such as American Indian and Alaska Native children, program operations such as full-day versus part-day, and the programís performance standards. An overview of participant demographics includes both child and family characteristics such as age, income, and family risk factors (e.g., substance use and criminal activity). Finally, information about child outcomes in cognitive, social-emotional, and mental health; nutrition and immunizations; and family services is presented, based on research conducted by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

Child Care: Children and Families in Diverse Settings
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Child Care: Children and Families in Diverse Settings
Margaret Burchinal, Ph.D.

Most children in the United States experience child care before they enter kindergarten. The type, amount, and quality of those child care experiences vary widely. Data from three large extant data sets were examined: (1) the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), (2) the National Household Educational Survey (NHES), and (3) the Pre-Kindergarten Evaluation conducted by the National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL). The SECCYD and NHES included information about child care for children from birth through entry to kindergarten, whereas the SECCYD and NCEDL included information about the quality of child care. Analyses described the proportion of children in each type of care; amount of care; and quality of care as a function of gender, ethnicity, family income, maternal education, and marital/partner status. Results indicated that use of exclusive parental care declined as children approached school age, whereas use of center care increased. Income was positively related to use of more child care, higher quality child care (even in publicly funded programs), and less reliance of exclusive parental care. African-American children tended to experience lower quality care, and income was less related to child care type, quantity, and quality when compared with other children.


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