Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Study Methodology


To accomplish the goals of the study, eight grantees whose programs could potentially represent different methods of providing full-day services were selected. To do so, existing materials describing full-day services were reviewed, including the following:

  • An Evaluability Assessment of Child Care Options for Work-Welfare Programs — A summary of lengthy interviews with 21 Head Start grantees who delivered full-day services in 1987-88;3
  • Head Start and Child Care Collaboration Programs — An ongoing study by the Children's Defense Fund of the issues faced by Head Start grantees who have created linkages with other child care agencies in order to offer full-day services;4
  • Summaries of key characteristics of grantees offering full-day services — Summaries prepared for the Child Care Subgroup of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion in 1993;5 and
  • Papers submitted by a variety of grantees and interest groups to Head Start — An outline of their concerns about interagency collaborations for full-day care.6

The issues described were carefully reviewed, and a list of potential grantees was generated.

Second, Federal Head Start staff in national and regional offices suggested which grantees might be visited. Combining the ideas generated from the aforementioned sources, a list of 57 grantees to possibly be included in the sample was drawn up. With the assistance of Federal staff members, 30 of the nominees were selected as the most promising candidates for site visits.

Third, an interview protocol was developed, and the 30 grantees were telephoned. Grantee directors were consulted to make certain that grantees were offering services to some or all children for a minimum of 8 hours a day and that services were offered during the summer, when site visits needed to be conducted. Funding sources and the methods of service delivery were investigated so that the final group of eight sites would represent different approaches to the delivery of full-day services.

Fourth, the list was reduced to eight grantees and four alternates that offered full-day services during the summer and differed according to the following criteria:

  • Part of country — The group represented all quadrants of the country;
  • Urbanicity — The sample included urban, suburban, and rural grantees;
  • Auspices — The sample included agencies with a variety of auspices (i.e., school systems, community action agencies and private nonprofits);
  • Funded enrollment and full-day enrollment — The sample grantees varied in size of funded enrollment, from small (fewer than 250 children) to large (more than 750 children) and in the numbers of children in full-day programs;
  • Care provider — Some grantees offered services themselves, some through delegate agencies, and some through contracts with non-Head Start child care providers; and
  • Funding sources — All grantees used at least one funding source in addition to Head Start, with funding sources varying across the group of grantees.

Following discussions with Federal staff, the final list of eight sites included the following:

  • Westchester Community Opportunity Program (Elmsford, NY);
  • Western Kentucky University Child Care Consortium (Bowling Green, KY);
  • New River Community Action (Christiansburg, VA);
  • Alachua County School Board (Gainesville, FL);
  • Miami Valley Child Development Centers (Dayton, OH);
  • West Central Development Corporation (Moorhead, IA);
  • Tulare County Child Care Educational Program (Visalia, CA); and
  • Puget Sound Educational Service District (Seattle, WA).

Exhibit 1 illustrates site characteristics appropriately diverse in geographic location, urbanicity, and auspices. When compared to Head Start grantees nationwide, the eight selected for this study tended to serve more children than average. In addition, the full range of potential grantee sponsors is not represented by this group (i.e., the auspices did not include local or tribal governments). In other ways the grantees were quite representative.

One site is a small grantee, offering services to fewer than 250 children; two sites are medium-sized grantees, with 250 to 750 children enrolled; and five are large grantees, with more than 750 children served. Enrollment in the full-day option also varies — with three grantees serving fewer than 100 children, one serving 100 to 200, and four serving more than 200. The grantee agency offers full-day services in six of the sample organizations; delegate agencies also offer services in two instances. Contracted centers and homes are used by three sample agencies for the provision of full-day services. Finally, a wide variety of funding sources is used in addition to Head Start dollars, including Title IV-A (AFDC/JOBS), CCDBG, SSBG, state child care and education funds, and parent fees.

Each director was called to schedule a 2-day site visit. While on site, discussions were held with the Head Start director, fiscal staff, component coordinators, teaching staff in the full-day classrooms, staff from coordinating agencies, and, where possible, staff from other child care agencies in the community. Our questions concerned the following: (1) characteristics of the grantee and population served; (2) history of the full-day program; (3) current structure of full-day services (i.e., schedule and staffing arrangements); (4) nature of collaborative arrangements used to provide full-day services; (5) issues in the provision of full-day services (e.g., home visits, parent involvement, staff training); (6) fiscal arrangements and concerns; and (7) common challenges for policymakers.

Finally, site summaries for each of the grantees visited (Appendix A) were written, and the cross-site analysis that follows in Chapters II and III was prepared.