Louisa Tarullo
Human Services

Louisa Tarullo

Senior Fellow

Louisa Tarullo has three decades of experience in early childhood research, including 14 years as Mathematica’s director of early care and education policy research. She is an expert in programs and policies designed to support optimal development and learning in children from birth through the early school years.

Currently, Tarullo directs a study to help Head Start programs understand how best to recruit, select, and retain families facing the adversities that are often intertwined with poverty, such as homelessness, involvement in foster care, and substance use issues. She leads the development and testing of the We Grow Together professional development system for caregivers of infants and toddlers. We Grow Together is based on a new observational measure, the Quality of Caregiver-Child Interactions for Infants and Toddlers (Q-CCIIT). As co-principal investigator for the multi-cohort Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), Tarullo brings in-depth knowledge of the factors in home, school, and neighborhood environments that contribute to children’s healthy cognitive and social-emotional development.

Tarullo previously directed a design project exploring the relationships between child outcomes and quality in early care settings, as well as a project that produced a toolkit of materials to support programs in the use of developmentally appropriate assessment practices. She led a project carrying out specialized secondary analyses and providing technical assistance on federally funded early childhood data sets. She has had key roles on an impact analysis of preschool curricula, studies of Early Head Start programs, and a synthesis of evidence-based practices in Head Start.

Tarullo joined Mathematica in 2004 after 15 years as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health and the Administration for Children and Families. An active member of the Society for Research in Child Development, she served as a member of its Policy and Communications Committee, with oversight of its policy fellowship program. She has published in Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Early Education and Development, the Handbook of Clinical Child Psychology, and the Blackwell Handbook of Early Childhood Development. She holds an Ed.D. in human development and psychology from Harvard University.

  • Head Start, Early Head Start, Child Care
  • Quality of Early Care and Education Settings
  • Children’s Development from Infancy Through the Early Grades
  • Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce
Focus Area Topics
  • Quality Improvement
  • Early Childhood
  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood Systems
  • Professional Development
  • Quality Measurement
  • Human Services

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