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Which Head Start (HS) services and supports were most supportive of family well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic?


In this proposed secondary data analysis study, we draw data from the recently released HS Family and Child Experiences Survey 2019 (FACES 2019), which is the only nationally representative study that can tell us about HS family, child, and center experiences during the pandemic. HS’s Parent, Family, Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework emphasizes the importance of family and community partnerships, which connect families to needed services and supports, as important inputs to family outcomes. The framework also emphasizes equity, inclusiveness, and cultural and linguistic responsiveness (EICLR) as important drivers of outcomes. In the context of service provision, EICLR involves meeting each family’s individual and unique needs. Guided by this framework, we focus the proposed investigation on the ways in which HS family and community partnerships promoted stability in family well-being and parent-child relationships for families with different baseline characteristics during the pandemic.

In the proposed project, we address four specific goals: to (1) examine HS families’ stability during the pandemic in the domains of economic well-being, mental health, health care access, and parent-child activities both overall and for different groups of families (i.e., those that differed at baseline on financial strain, material hardship, food security, number of parents in the household, language(s) spoken, immigrant status, and race/ethnicity); (2) understand the variation in services and supports (e.g., food and nutrition services, health care, community partnerships) that families had access to during the pandemic; (3) investigate which HS services and supports were associated with family stability during the pandemic; and (4) consider whether HS services and supports offered during the pandemic were differentially supportive of family stability for families with different characteristics. Findings from the proposed project could help inform HS’s ongoing pandemic response, as well as professional development and resources that help centers tailor their services to the specific needs of the communities they serve. Deepening our understanding of what worked best for different families during the pandemic could contribute to more equitably supporting and serving HS children and families, both during times of emergency and otherwise. To help meet these goals, the proposed project includes several specific dissemination activities aimed at practitioners, policymakers, and researchers.   (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
Principal Investigator(s):
United States

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