Evaluating Early Childhood Programs
These resources offer examples of program evaluations and provide information on evaluating the effectiveness of early childhood programs, including State and local examples.
Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Includes numerous reports from a project that began in 1996 to evaluate the impact of the Early Head Start program on key child and family outcomes in three phases: birth to three, pre-kindergarten, and elementary school. Reports address evaluation design and components, local and cross-site measurement instruments, observation and interview protocols, research to practice information, and more.
Early Childhood Program Evaluations: A Decision-Maker's Guide
National Forum on Early Childhood Program Evaluation (2007)
Prepares decision-makers to be better consumers of evaluation information by posing five questions that address both the substance and the practical utility of rigorous evaluation research.
Building and Using Coordinated State Early Care and Education Data Systems: A Framework for State Policymakers (PDF - 2458 KB)
Early Childhood Data Collaborative (2010)
Discusses the development of the Early Childhood Data Collaborative to support State policymakers' efforts to build and use coordinated early care and education (ECE) data systems, strategies for laying the foundation for the strategic development of coordinated State ECE data systems, Federal support for coordinated State ECE data systems, and 10 fundamentals of coordinated State ECE data systems.
A Developmental Approach to Child Welfare Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: A Self-Assessment Tool for States and Counties Administering Child Welfare Services (PDF - 491 KB)
ZERO TO THREE (2012)
Helps States and counties assess how child welfare policies and practices address the developmental needs of infants, toddlers, and their families; identifies how policies and practices can be improved; and engages partners in taking action.
Developmental Screening in Primary Care: The Effectiveness of Current Practice and Recommendations for Improvement (PDF - 394 KB)
Recommends seven steps to improve the abilities of early intervention programs and pediatricians to identify developmental delays early in young children. The steps address research needed in the field, barriers to the development and use of screening tools, training for residents, and more.
Early Childhood Home Visitation: Effectiveness of a National Initiative Depends Critically on Adherence to Rigorous Evidence About "What Works" (PDF - 1680 KB)
Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy (2009)
Summarizes findings from rigorous evaluations of eight widely implemented home visiting models and recommends that policymakers support scaling up models that meet the high standards outlined by the National Academy of Sciences.
Early Childhood State Advisory Councils: Status Report April 2013 (PDF - 11,540 KB)
Administration for Children and Families (2013)
Discusses the status of the State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care grant program that enables States to lead the development and enhancement of high-quality, comprehensive early childhood systems that optimize childhood service delivery so that children arrive at school ready to learn and prepared to excel.
Impacts of Early Childhood Programs (PDF - 850 KB)
Summarizes existing evidence on five early childhood interventions, finding that most have had positive effects on children's emotional and behavioral outcomes.
InBrief: Early Childhood Program Effectiveness
NGA Center for Best Practices, National Conference of State Legislatures, & Center on the Developing Child (2009)
Outlines basic concepts from 40 years of program evaluation research that help explain how society can ensure that children have solid foundations for productive futures by creating and implementing effective early childhood programs and policies.
Outcomes for Children Served Through IDEA's Early Childhood Programs (PDF - 926 KB)
Early Childhood Outcomes Center (2011)
Reports that recent data suggests that high percentages of infants and toddlers who received services through Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and preschoolers who received early childhood special education through IDEA show greater than expected developmental progress and many are exiting the program functioning within age expectations.
State Indicators for Early Childhood (PDF - 298 KB)
National Center for Children in Poverty (2008)
Reviews the characteristics of good indicators and proposes 36 indicators for States to use to monitor program performance and child outcomes related to early childhood systems.
What Works?: A Study of Effective Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Programs
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (2009)
Presents results from an indepth study of six early childhood mental health consultation programs demonstrating positive child, family, staff, and/or program outcomes. The report addresses essential program components, staff training and supervision, intervention intensity, and targeted outcomes. Also see the Evaluation Toolkit. (PDF - 644 KB)
State and local examples
Children's Futures' First Five Years: Lessons and Early Outcomes of a Community Change Initiative (PDF - 302 KB)
Summarizes the evaluation of an early childhood initiative in Trenton, NJ. The report addresses key findings on collaboration and community change, program improvements, and early outcomes for the families the initiative served.
Financing a Great Start for Michigan's Children: Analysis of Existing Resources for the Great Start System (PDF - 427 KB)
Hayes & Szekely (2007)
Analyzes the funding streams that support Michigan's system of services for young children and their families and evaluates its effectiveness in preparing children to enter kindergarten safe, healthy, and eager to succeed.
Inform Influence Impact: The Role of Research in Supporting a Community's Commitment to Its Children (PDF - 1650 KB)
Case Western Reserve University, Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development (2009)
Presents activities and outcomes of Invest in Children, a 10-year, public-private partnership created to increase the development, funding, visibility, and impact of early childhood services in Cuyahoga County, OH.