Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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Children With Disabilities


The Children with Disabilities workgroup aims to bring together researchers studying programs and policies that support children with disabilities and their families. The workgroup identifies emerging research questions, as well as data and methodology needs to further research in this area. Additionally, the workgroup fosters sharing and collaborative research across disciplines (e.g. child development, early childhood special education, policy analysis, school psychology, early childhood education). The workgroup meets quarterly via virtual meeting to share presentations and discuss research and policy implications of the latest research findings.

This project is funded through the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and managed through a contract with Child Trends.

Key Topics

  • Definitions of disability across policies and programs

  • Exclusionary discipline (e.g. suspension and expulsion)

  • Utilization and integration of state and federal data on children with disabilities

  • Initial training and ongoing professional development of ECE workforce who care for children with disabilities


Mallory Warner-Richter (
Research Scientist II, Child Trends

Tamara Halle (
Senior Scholar, Child Trends

Jenna Weglarz-Ward (
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Christy Kavulic (
Associate Division Director of the Early Childhood Team, Office of Special Education Programs

Laura Hoard (
Senior Social Science Research Analyst, Head Start, Child and Family Well-Being, Health, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation


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