Doré R. LaForett is a senior research scientist in the early child development area at Child Trends. Her work spans the areas of child development and the educational experiences of young children and families; contexts that influence children’s academic and social-emotional development; educational, social-behavioral, and family-focused interventions; and early care and education programs.
Dr. LaForett has extensive experience conducting research with low-income populations and with culturally and linguistically diverse children and families, with a heavy emphasis on children who are dual language learners. She is principal investigator (PI) of a study funded by the Institute of Education Sciences examining associations between language of instruction and K-3rd grade students’ academic outcomes in Spanish-English dual language educational settings. She is also PI on a secondary analysis study funded by the Office of Planning, Research, & Evaluation examining Head Start’s family support services, and PI on a foundation-funded study to validate a clinic-developed measure of child/youth resiliency. Dr. LaForett is co-PI on the program performance evaluation (PPE) for North Carolina’s Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, and also leads the PPE work for the Head Start National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Her past work includes serving as a co-investigator on an Institute of Education Sciences-funded randomized control trial study of an evidence-based program for early elementary students on self-regulation and educational outcomes, and leading an intervention study targeting mothers of infants and toddlers who were enrolled in Early Intervention services and experiencing depression symptoms.
Prior to joining Child Trends in 2019, Dr. LaForett conducted research at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for over 10 years. As a licensed psychologist, she has extensive experience in child assessment and evidence-based practices (e.g., social-emotional learning programs, parenting programs), and she served as an early childhood mental health consultant in Head Start classrooms for over 10 years. Dr. LaForett serves as an appointed member of the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council, and is the chair-elect for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Latinx Caucus. Through her research, clinical work, and service to the field and broader community, she is committed to advancing the well-being of children and families though scientific knowledge that is ecologically valid, developmentally focused, and aligned with a racial equity approach.