Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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Network of Infant/Toddler Researchers

The Network of Infant/Toddler Researchers (NitR) consortium brings together leading applied researchers with the policymakers and technical assistance providers responsible for overseeing and supporting early childhood programs serving families during pregnancy and the first 3 years of life. The Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) OPRE convened NitR to answer questions of interest to ACF. NitR brings together researchers interested in policy and practice issues relevant to programs serving families during pregnancy and when children are infants and toddlers. This includes child care, home visiting, Early Head Start, and child welfare.

NitR members collaborate and coordinate to encourage research-informed practice and practice-informed research as they:

  • Identify existing research that can inform policy and practice in ACF-relevant programs and work with Federal staff to translate research for various audiences and purposes in innovative ways.
  • Identify barriers to the implementation of research-informed practice and think of creative strategies to overcome barriers.
  • Become more informed about ACF priorities and programs and identify topical and methodological research gaps to make research efforts more informed by practice and supportive of ACF-relevant programs serving pregnant women, infants, and toddlers.
  • Review the current knowledge base in order to distill and disseminate accrued knowledge while also conceptualizing innovative research strategies to expand on the current state of the field.
  • Build capacity in the field of applied developmental science through facilitation of networking and collaboration among the participants of NitR to conduct research that would directly inform ACF-relevant programs serving pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. This includes explicit outreach and mentoring of junior faculty and graduate students. (NitR Mission Statement, 2017)

More information about NitR is included in its mission statement.

NitR Working Groups, Products, and Contact Information

NitR members have the opportunity to participate in working groups and develop publicly available products. Working groups are formed and led by members who are interested in exploring a narrow topic or interest within the broader field of infant and toddler research. NitR’s products cover a range of topics relevant to the care of infants and toddlers, and are aimed toward audiences of providers, parents, and researchers.

Active NitR Working Groups

NitR Graduate Students and Early Career Scholars

The NitR Graduate Student and Early Career Working Group brings together early career scholars who are studying influences on the development of young children from pregnancy through the first 3 years of life. The group aims to increase opportunities for students to collaborate with NitR faculty members and other students to conduct research that informs policy and practice in ACF-relevant programs.

Workgroup leads: Dianna Tran (  and Sarah Blankenship (

NitR Products

Explore the list of resources created by NitR.

Developmental Foundations of School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers: A Research to Practice Report

Drowning Prevention for Young Children: Provider Brief

Including Relationship-Based Care Practices in Infant-Toddler Care: Implications for Practice and Policy

Prevent Drowning: Parent Handout

Preventing Sleep-Related Infant Death: Provider Brief

Safe Sleeping: Parent Handout

Services for Families of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Trauma

Working Toward a Definition of Infant/Toddler Curricula: Intentionally Furthering the Development of Individual Children Within Responsive Relationships

Contact Information

For more information about NitR, please contact:

Sarah Blankenship
OPRE NitR Lead


Rachel Chazan-Cohen
NitR Co-Lead, University of Connecticut

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