Performance Improvement 2003. A Descriptive Study of Head Start Families: Faces Technical Report I


Families have played an essential role in the Head Start philosophy since the inception of the program. In July 1996, the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) initiated a national effort to  develop a descriptive profile of families participating in the Head Start program. Shortly thereafter, ACYF combined this project with a second initiative to develop, test, and refine Program Performance Measures for Head Start. This combined effort is known as the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES). Performance Standards detail a set of requirements that address: family goal setting, accessing community services and resources and services to pregnant women. Performance standards also address parent involvement in: child development and education; health, nutrition, and mental health education; community advocacy; transition activities; and home visits. Income is the key part of the Head Start eligibility criteria. Findings of the report include the following: (1) Slightly over half of the parents were in their twenties or thirties at the time of the fall 1997 parent interview. Almost one-fifth of all parents were born in a country other than the United States. (2) Less than half of all parents were married. About one- third reported being single, while almost one-quarter were divorced, separated, or widowed. (3) Almost all parents reported engaging in safety practices such as using a child safety seat or seat belt for their children, keeping medicines in childproof bottles, having an operating smoke detector, and having a first aid kit. (4) African American children were involved in more activities with family members than either White or Hispanic children and White children had more family activity than Hispanic children.

FEDERAL CONTACT: Maria Woolverton, 202-205-4039 PIC ID: 6331

PERFORMER: CDM Group, Cambridge, MA

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