Kathryn Tout is a developmental scientist who focuses on how policies, practices, and innovations can promote effective early childhood systems, program quality, and the well-being of young children and their families. She conducts research and evaluation to understand and identify best practices in early childhood system-building, program quality improvement, and professional development for early childhood educators. She provides technical assistance to build capacity in the early childhood field for continuous improvement and monitoring of progress toward equitable experiences and outcomes for young children and their families.
At the federal level, Kathryn co-directs Child Trends’ Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis contract with the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE). Under this contract, she directs the production of research briefs and secondary data analyses on critical topics, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant, access to early care and education, and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. Kathryn is the principal investigator on a study to assess the feasibility of using an innovative quality improvement method to support practice and organizational change in child care and Head Start programs. At the state level, Dr. Tout is a co-PI on an OPRE-funded research partnership with the state of Minnesota that studies equitable access to early care and education from the perspective of families and child care providers. And at the local level, she directs Child Trends’ work with the Heinz Endowments to improve the prenatal-to-three system for Allegheny County.
Kathryn directs projects from Child Trends’ Minnesota office but works across the nation with a variety of local, state and federal partners. She is passionate about using data to spark conversations about equity and new ideas for improving children’s lives. In each of her projects, Kathryn has developed strong, collaborative relationships with state agency staff and administrators, program developers, implementation teams, researchers and other stakeholders to support the development of findings that are policy-relevant and applicable to decision making.