"Head Start family services: Family characteristics as predictors of service use by Latinx families"
Fourth-year doctoral student Melissa S. Dahlin, Research Associate Guadalupe Díaz (Sobrato), Assistant Professor Jade M. Jenkins, and Professor Stephanie M. Reich published an article in Children and Youth Services about Latinx families’ use of Head Start.
The title of the article is “Head Start family services: Family characteristics as predictors of service use by Latinx families.”
Dahlin studies early childhood education, child development, educational leadership, equity, family engagement, parenting, early childhood policy, and program evaluation. Her experience includes early childhood education research, policy analysis, and technical assistance to build the capacity of state education agencies to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcome, monitoring and evaluation and classroom instruction. Prior to doctoral studies, she was an Associate Director at Education Development Center. For her doctoral studies she is specializing in Human Development in Context and Education Policy and Social Context. Reich and Jenkins serve as her co-advisors.
Jenkins studies early childhood development, child and family policy, and policy analysis and management. She is director of UCI's Early Policy Research Group. Jenkins's work focuses on program evaluation and understanding the mechanisms that promote child and family wellbeing. She currently is researching factors in persistence and fadeout of early childhood intervention on a grant funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development.
Reich’s research foci include socio-emotional development, parent-child interactions, peer networks, and social affordances of technology. The bulk of her work explores direct and indirect influences on the child, specifically through the family, online, and school environment. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Community Research and Action. At UCI, Reich is director of the Development in Social Context Lab (DISC) and serves as the associate director of the Ph.D. in Education program. She holds additional appointments in Psychological Science and Informatics.
This study seeks to understand characteristics that predict use of Head Start family services by Latinx families. Head Start requires programs to offer services that are tailored to individual family needs. While the offer of services is important, what is critical is the use of these services. Few studies have explored whether families access services when offered and how the contextual risk around the family predicts their likelihood of uptake, especially for Latinx families who are increasingly enrolling in Head Start programs. This study examines patterns of service use by cumulative risk and by individual risk factors. Results indicate that Latinx families with more risk are more likely to use services, as well as use more of them. Findings related to specific individual types of risk were mixed. We include a discussion of Head Start’s comprehensive service delivery model as it relates to service use for Latinx families.