Dale Epstein Richards

Senior Program Area Director
Research Scholar

Research Focus

Education & certification

PhD, Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park

Dale Epstein Richards

Senior Program Area Director
Research Scholar, Chapel Hill, NC

Dale Epstein Richards, PhD, is a research scholar in Child Trends’ early childhood research area, as well as the area’s senior director. Dr. Richards has more than 15 years of experience in early childhood research, policy, and evaluation and is a national expert on early childhood data systems. She focuses on the intersection of research and policy and the roles that state and national public policies play in the lives of young children and their families. Her research interests include early childhood system building and policy, data integration and analyses, and evaluation of early childhood initiatives.

Dr. Richards is currently part of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative at Child Trends. In this capacity, she consults with states on implementation strategies and approaches to linking, using, and communicating about early care and education data, all through a racial equity lens. Dr. Richards has served as PI or co-PI—or otherwise directed—federal-, state-, and foundation-funded projects focused on the early care and education workforce, statewide evaluations of early care and education initiatives, quality improvement efforts, the effects of state policies and practices, state and local data integration efforts, family and center-based child care, and supports for the well-being of infants and toddlers.

Dr. Richards has presented her work for federal, state, and local agencies, and at numerous conferences. Her work has been published as reports and briefs for federal and state administrators and policymakers. She has developed a vast array of resources to support local and state administrators, including worksheets, case studies, frameworks, guidebooks, web-based tools, and other short products.  

Before coming to Child Trends, Dr. Richards was an investigator at the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute. Previously, she was an assistant research professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers State University.