Supporting Families in Region XI AIAN Head Start: Centers’ Early Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, most children’s centers used physical delivery or pick-up locations, telephone calls, and social media accounts for communication with multiple families and for contacting individual families. Children’s centers also used e-messaging to contact individual families.
- Children’s centers used a combination of strategies to continue providing services early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Most children’s centers provided remote learning opportunities and either dropped off materials, food, and supplies or established family pick-up sites for distributing those items.
- Children’s centers described a variety of family needs early in the COVID-19 pandemic, most commonly for food and nutrition supports and for educational activities to support children’s learning at home. In a majority of children’s centers, families also expressed needs for housing and transportation assistance, and child care. In more than half of children’s centers, families also expressed needs for in-person social gathering.
- Many children’s centers provided supports that corresponded with some of families’ most pressing needs, including food and nutrition supports and educational activities for families to use at home.
This research brief uses nationally representative data from the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (AIAN FACES 2019) to understand how Region XI Head Start children’s centers responded early in the COVID-19 pandemic to support children and families. It describes the strategies that children’s centers used to communicate with families and the needs that families reported to center staff. It also explores whether children’s centers provided supports that corresponded with families’ needs and how the services and referrals that children’s centers provided to children and families changed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.