Projects

Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey: Baby FACES 2018

2015-2022
Prepared For

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

Since 1995, Early Head Start (EHS) programs have served low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers up to age three with a wide range of services and multiple strategies. 

The programs’ offerings include child development services delivered in home visits or child care settings, case management, parenting education, health care, referrals, and family support.

Sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Mathematica is conducting a large-scale descriptive study of Early Head Start. The Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2018 (Baby FACES) includes large nationally representative samples of EHS programs with data collection in spring 2018 (completed) and spring 2022. The information we collect guides program technical assistance, management, and policy. Baby FACES 2018 builds on the success of an earlier study (Baby FACES 2009), but uses a different design and answers different questions. It provides information about Early Head Start programs in the context of the adoption of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and the new Head Start Program Performance Standards, and more recently, COVID-19.

The study team and expert consultants developed a conceptual framework for the Early Head Start program and subframeworks that elaborate aspects of the program and hypothesized associations among them that are the focus of the study. ACF’s priority for Baby FACES 2018 is understanding the processes in classrooms and home visits that support responsive relationships.

To address this overarching research question and many other more specific ones, we selected nationally representative cross-sectional samples of programs, centers, classrooms, home visitors, children, and families (in spring 2018 and again in 2022). In the 2018 wave of data collection, we collected data from 137 programs, centers, classrooms and teachers, home visitors, and enrolled children. From this sample, we interviewed program directors, center directors, teachers, home visitors, and parents; conducted classroom observations; and collected staff reports on study children. The 2022 data collection (delayed from 2020 due to COVID-19) will be similar in design but will also include observations of home visits and video-recorded parent-child interactions.

Mathematica's partners in the study are Virginia Marchman, Stanford University; Jon Korfmacher, the Chapin Hall; and Margaret Burchinal, the University of Virginia, as well as many early childhood development and measurement experts who serve as consultants.

Related Staff

Cheri  Vogel

Cheri Vogel

Principal Researcher

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Laura Kalb

Laura Kalb

Principal Survey Researcher

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Pia Caronongan

Pia Caronongan

Senior Researcher

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Eileen Bandel

Eileen Bandel

Principal Survey Researcher

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Yange Xue

Yange Xue

Senior Researcher

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