Early childhood, including the infant and toddler years, is a critical developmental period providing the foundation for lifelong relationships, skills, behaviors, and health outcomes. The importance of the adult-child relationships during this period is well established. There are a number of research-based interventions promoting responsive and supportive relationships at home as well as in early childcare programs. However, there are very few rigorously studied interventions that use aligned and/or integrated models supporting coordinated and consistent experiences across the home and early education environments. Additionally, there is a need for implementation evidence in typical home and classroom settings where young children spend much of their time. As part of a federally funded Early Head Start-University Partnership initiative, four research teams from across the U.S. were funded to contribute to the evidence-base regarding how Early Head Start and other early education programs can promote child development by supporting both parenting and center-based care. In this paper, we describe the many contextual, practical, and empirical realities and challenges encountered by the research teams and offer a conceptualization for how research-practice partnerships can provide an avenue for building “real world” evidence in these contexts. (author abstract)
Building a real-world evidence base for improving child and family outcomes
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