This project will use data from the Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences study (Baby FACES; Vogel & Boller, 2009-2012), a longitudinal dataset providing information on Early Head Start (EHS) children, families, EHS professionals (teachers and/or home visitors), and programs. Baby FACES is especially strong for understanding children’s earliest developmental contexts and provides multifaceted, longitudinal data on their home and EHS contexts consisting of direct observations of children’s development and parenting quality, observational assessments of EHS quality using reliable and well-validated measures, and rich descriptive reports of children’s home environments. Importantly, Baby FACES focuses exclusively on low-income families with young children, a population that is of critical interest for developmental science and public policy. This interdisciplinary study will seek to contribute to our understanding of children’s development and parenting within low-income families while illuminating the specific roles that EHS may play in best supporting children and their families.
We will accomplish the project goal by addressing three aims. First, utilizing a person-centered approach, we will identify patterns of family ecological risks among the EHS population when children were 1 year old and examine how child characteristics and EHS experiences are differentially associated with the identified risk profiles. Second, we will examine how the ecological risk profiles are associated with children’s development and parenting quality at age 3. Third, we will consider how EHS experiences from ages 1 to 3 moderate associations between the ecological risk profiles and children’s development and parenting quality.
Findings will inform the design and targeting of EHS services and help to inform other programs and policies aimed at supporting low-income children’s development and the capacities of their parents.