Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

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ACF and OPRE-Supported Research Projects

This page provides links to resources and projects that were developed through the support of OPRE-funded grants. Visit the OPRE website for a list of grant forecasts and funding opportunity announcements. Descriptions of the projects sponsored by the OPRE Division of Child and Family Development are included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Report on Child and Family Development Research

Grants to Support Emerging Scholars

These grants seek to build capacity in the field and focus on research with direct implications for child care and Head Start/Early Head Start policy and practices.

  • Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Child Care Dissertation Grant: Since 2000, Child Care and Development Fund discretionary funds for child care research and evaluation have supported projects by emerging scholars that add to our knowledge about the efficacy of child care subsidy policies and programs in supporting employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for parents, and providing positive learning and school readiness outcomes for children. Browse the projects associated with these grants.

  • Early Care and Education Research Scholars: Head Start Dissertation Grants: Since 1998, Head Start discretionary funds for research and evaluation have supported projects by emerging scholars that build knowledge of effective early childhood interventions with low-income children and families. The grant program builds capacity in the field by providing support for graduate students working in partnership with local Head Start or Early Head Start programs. Browse the projects associated with these grants.

Grants to Support Secondary Analysis of Data on Early Care and Education

These grants support secondary data analyses of relevance to the goals and outcomes of the Child Care and Development Fund and Head Start/Early Head Start programs.

  • Child Care Administrative Data Analysis Grants: The overall purpose of these cooperative agreements is to support Child Care and Development Fund Lead Agencies in conducting rigorous, policy-relevant research that primarily involves the analysis of child care administrative data. Browse the projects associated with these grants.​​​​​

  • ​​​​​Secondary Analysis of Data on Early Care and Education Grants: The projects funded under this grant conduct analyses of existing data sets to answer critical research questions that will inform both policymakers and future research. Browse the projects associated with these grants.

Grants to Support Partnerships Between Child Care and Development Fund Lead Agencies and Researchers

These grants support research and evaluation activities developed and conducted through partnerships between Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Lead Agencies in States and Territories and researchers.

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Implementation Research and Evaluation Grants: The CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation Grants program provides CCDF Lead Agencies with an opportunity to plan for and evaluate initiatives and policies related to the CCDBG Act of 2014. Browse the projects associated with these grants.

  • Child Care Policy Research Partnerships: This grant program supports active collaborations between CCDF Lead Agencies and researchers to investigate questions of immediate relevance to local and national child care policies and practices. Browse the projects associated with these grants.

Grants to Support Partnerships Between Head Start Programs and Researchers

These grants support research jointly planned and executed by Head Start/Early Head Start and university researchers to inform practice and policy. These grantees are expected to work collaboratively with their program partners and their fellow grantees to develop richer data and disseminate their work effectively.

  • Head Start/Early Head Start University Partnership Grants: The Head Start University Partnerships program supported research conducted by university faculty members who form partnerships with Head Start or Early Head Start programs in their communities. The purpose of these partnerships was twofold:

    1. To improve the quality and effectiveness of Head Start/Early Head Start services and the services of other early intervention programs through the acquisition of new knowledge, or to test the application of theory-driven interventions in Head Start or Early Head Start settings that have documented proof of effectiveness with other populations and ages, or in other settings.

    2. To broaden the base of researchers who enter into partnerships with Head Start programs to conduct research that benefits all low-income children from the prenatal period through age five. To further broaden this research base, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) funded Head Start Research Scholars projects, which was a program that supports graduate students in similar research endeavors. Through both of these initiatives, ACF hoped to strengthen partnerships among researchers, program staff, and Head Start families.       

       Each round of funding for this grant program has a different focus. Information about the Early Head Start University Partnerships research grants focused on Infant/Toddler Center-Based Programs (2015-2020) and Buffering Children From Toxic Stress (20112016) and is available on the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation's website. Browse the projects associated with these grants.

Centers That Support Research on Understudied Populations

  • National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families: Since 2013, OPRE has funded the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families. The center is a hub of research to improve the lives of low-income Hispanics across three areas: early care and education, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and poverty and economic self-sufficiency. A key goal of the center is to build capacity within the research, policy, and practice communities. They are doing this through several activities, including using interactive data tools that allow researchers to dig deeper into national surveys with a large enough sample of Hispanic families to better understand their early care and education experiences and the diversity of these families (e.g. Unpacking Hispanic Diversity, How Well Do National Surveys Measure Hispanic Families and Households?). A variety of research briefs and resources guides have been created to accompany the data tools.  Browse the research created by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families.

  • Tribal Early Childhood Research Center: Since 2011, OPRE has funded The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center. The goal of the center is to promote excellence in community-based participatory research and evaluation of ACF early childhood initiatives that serve Tribal communities. The center focuses on four major initiatives — Head Start, Child Care, Home Visiting, and Poverty/Economic Self-Sufficiency — and conducts a number of activities, including measurement development, pilot research, training/professional development, and the provision of forums to increase cultural competence and sensitivity to Tribal voices in research and evaluation. Browse the research created by The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center.

  • African American Child and Family Research Center:  Starting in 2021, OPRE is funding the African American Child and Family Research Center. The goal of the center will be to lead and support research on the needs of African American populations served by ACF and promising approaches to promote social and economic well-being. Stay tuned for resources associated with the African American Child and Family Research Center!

Centers That Support Research Capacity Building

OPRE supports several centers that support CCDF Lead Agencies in research and evaluation capacity building to facilitate learning of the CCDF program:

Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis Project  

The purpose of CCEEPRA is to support expert consultation and research and analyses that focus on child care and early education services and build the capacity for new research and evaluation efforts at OPRE. Work on CCEEPRA provides OPRE with timely, high-quality research products designed to inform child care and early education policies and programs, including programs administered under the Office of Child Care and the Office of Head Start. Browse the research and analyses created by CCEEPRA. Additional information about CCEEPRA is available on OPRE’s website.

Visit OPRE’s Resource Library to explore additional ACF and OPRE-supported grant program publications.

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