Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Gathering Further Information


This study provided considerable information about the delivery of full-day services by drawing upon funding from multiple sources. However, many questions regarding the provision of full-day services for Head Start children and families still remain.

First, this study could not provide information on the prevalence of full-day care and the service delivery approaches. For instance, it is not known how many children are served in wrap-around, wrap-in, and connected care programs. It is also not known from this study or from available databases the number of Head Start children who are (1) provided with care for more than 8 hours a day during the school year or a 12-month calendar year; (2) enrolled in wraparound programs cofunded by SSBG, CCDBG, AFDC/JOBS, or state child care or education funds; (3) enrolled in wrap-in programs cofunded by each potential source; or (4) enrolled in connected care, jointly funded by each source. A relatively straightforward way to gather these data would be to alter the current questions on the PIR to update the list of funding sources and gather information on numbers of children involved in full-day care.

Second, this study did not address the issue of how the various approaches to care affect the well-being of children. It is not known, for instance, how children fare when they change classrooms, locations, or providers during the day: Are there differences in the development of social competence related to stability of care setting? to stability of providers?

Third, several of the programs that were visited had co- located services for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children; all directors wanted to be able to offer this service. The directors believe that Head Start will become a more viable option for working families when all of these age groups are routinely served at the same location. The effect of co-locating services on enrollment in Head Start and on family progress toward self-sufficiency are important issues that may be addressed in further research: Do more families choose to enroll their preschool-age children in Head Start when they can also place younger children in the facility? Do families make more progress toward self-sufficiency when all of their child care needs are met in one location?

And finally, this study did not collect any information on care arrangements for Head Start children that parents arrange for themselves. It is not known how many Head Start children are cared for by relatives before and after the Head Start day, how the siblings of Head Start children are cared for, or how many parents work non-traditional hours and need alternative care arrangements for their children.

All of these are important issues for Head Start staff and families alike and can only be addressed with further research. In consequence, the final recommendation is that Head Start examine these research questions concerning full-day services as it sets a research agenda for the next decade.