Small Child

Early Childhood Development

Child Trends researchers study young children from birth through early elementary school with a focus on understanding how the experiences children have across different settings can promote their optimal development and well-being. Our research experts work with the federal government, states and foundation partners to evaluate state policy initiatives such as Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS), kindergarten readiness assessments, professional development initiatives for the early childhood workforce, and strategies to promote access and affordability of high quality early care and education. Child Trends’ early childhood team has produced nationally-recognized resources and research on school readiness, early care and education quality measurement, implementation science, family engagement, and coaching and consultation in early childhood settings. Child Trends contributes to the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC), which provides tools and resources to encourage state policy change and provides a national forum to support the development and use of coordinated state ECE data systems.

Featured Publications

Connecting the Dots: Raising A Reader Builds Evidence Base for its Parent Engagement and Early Literacy Program

Nov 2014 | Karen Walker; Rachel Gooze; Alicia Torres

This brief examines the case of Raising A Reader (RAR), which has been steadily building its evidence base over many years and is now positioned to undertake such a comprehensive evaluation. RAR is a national nonprofit literacy organization which, through work with direct service agencies, helps develop sustainable home literacy routines essential to language and literacy development. The brief first summarizes the research base for family literacy programs and the emerging evidence base for RAR. It then describes the RAR program and how it uses a variety of data to regularly improve its program, inform programming integrity, and prepare for a randomized controlled trial. In closing, the brief addresses the lessons for the broader field.

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Culture Counts: Engaging Black and Latino Parents of Young Children in Family Support Programs (Report)

Oct 2014 | Shannon Moodie; Manica Ramos

This report provides an overview of family support programs and aims to identify the features and strategies that may be most effective for reaching and engaging black and Latino families, with the ultimate goal of supporting young children’s development. The report presents a synthesis of available research on parent engagement—as well as potential barriers to their engagement—in family support services and programs, and recommendations, for both policymakers and practitioners, for designing, adapting, and evaluating culturally-relevant family support programs and services.

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Culture Counts: Engaging Black and Latino Parents of Young Children in Family Support Programs (Executive Summary)

Oct 2014 | Shannon Moodie; Manica Ramos

This executive summary will provide readers with a better understanding of the cultural and contextual factors that affect the engagement of black and Latino families in a variety of programs and services, and what can be done to increase this engagement.

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2013 State of States' Early Childhood Data Systems

Feb 2014 | Early Childhood Data Collaborative

The 2013 State of States’ Early Childhood Data Systems, released by the Early Childhood Data Collaborative, is based on a survey of 50 states and the District of Columbia, assessing the coordination of their early childhood data systems. The survey was completed by state education, health, and social services program staff and focused on states’ capacity to securely link child-level ECE data, collect state-level child screening and assessment data, and use of coordinated ECE data.

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