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 promote optimal development and well-being. Our team works with the federal government, state agencies, communities, and foundations on research, evaluation, and policy projects that address important issues for policymakers, practitioners, and families. We are skilled at developing resources and reports that address complex topics in easy-to-understand terms. We are strong thought partners in addressing a range of early childhood issues.

Much of our work fits into five broad categories.

Featured Projects

Featured Publications

Best Practices in Creating and Adapting Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Rating Scales

Jul 2016 | Margaret Burchinal; Louisa Tarullo; Martha Zaslow

Three principles of scale development — dimensionality, item selection, and item scoring are especially relevant for quality rating and improvement systems' (QRIS) rating scales. This brief describes how using these principles can help in the development and refinement of QRIS rating scales. Attention to these principles will enhance the ability of QRIS ratings to achieve the goal of predicting observed quality scores and child outcomes.

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Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: Secondary Data Analyses of Psychometric Properties of Scale Development

Jul 2016 | Margaret Burchinal; Sandra Soliday Hong; Terri Sabol; Nina Forestieri; Ellen Peisner-Feinberg; Louisa Tarullo; Martha Zaslow

The results of this secondary data analysis simulating a QRIS validation using six large early care and education datasets demonstrate several issues that should be considered when constructing, validating, and making changes to existing quality ratings.

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Proposed Revisions to the Definitions for the Early Childhood Workforce in the Standard Occupational Classification

Jul 2016 | Richard Brandon; Margaret Burchinal; Fran Kipnis; Roberta Weber; Marcy Whitebook; Martha Zaslow

The SOC is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers and jobs into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analyzing, or disseminating data. This white paper proposes changes to the titles, definitions, and placement of the detailed occupations involving the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce in the SOC. At present, a series of problems exists with the categorization and definitions used in the federal occupational data system for the ECCE workforce. These problems make it difficult to know the size of this workforce and its characteristics, such as level of education and training.

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Parent Aware: Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System: Executive Summary

Feb 2016 | Kathryn Tout; Jennifer Cleveland; Weilin Li; Rebecca Starr; Margaret Soli; Erin Bultinck

Parent Aware is Minnesota’s quality rating and improvement system for child care programs. We studied Parent Aware to determine whether its ratings are fair, accurate, and meaningful.

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