In 1998, as part of the Head Start reauthorization, Congress mandated that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conduct a national study of the impact of Head Start programs to determine, on a national level, how participation in Head Start affects the school readiness of the children it serves, and identify the types of participants and under what circumstances the program is most effective. The Head Start Impact Study is being conducted across 84 nationally representative grantee/delegate agencies. Approximately 5,000 newly entering 3- and 4-year-old children applying for Head Start were randomly assigned to either a Head Start group that had access to Head Start program services or to a non-Head Start group that could enroll in available community non-Head Start services, selected by their parents. This report examines outcomes for children after one year in the program and compares children who received Head Start services to children who were assigned to a control group.
The report quantifies the impact of Head Start separately for 3- and 4-year-old children across child cognitive, social-emotional, and health domains as well as on parenting practices. For children in the 3- year-old group, the preliminary results from the first year of data collection demonstrate small to moderate positive effects favoring the children enrolled in Head Start for some outcomes in each domain. There were fewer positive impacts found for children in the 4-year-old group.
PIC ID: 8226; Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation; Federal Contact: Woolverton, Maria, 202-205-4039; Performer: Westat, Rockville, MD