Assistant Professor Jade Marcus Jenkins has been awarded a 2019-2020 Hellman Fellowship to be used toward her study, "The Impacts of State Early Childhood Policies on Children with Disabilities."
Hellman Fellowships were established by Warren and Chris Hellman and their children in 1994 to support the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their chosen fields of endeavor.
In notifying Dr. Jenkins of her award, Diane O'Dowd, UCI Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, communicated, "Your selection as a Hellman Fellow at UCI is a tremendous acknowledgement of your achievements, thus far."
Jenkins is one of five assistant professors at UCI receiving the $50,000 Hellman Fellowship. She is joining the 58 other Hellman Fellows awarded fellowships since 2013. Read UCI's press release here.
Children with disabilities enter school with a unique set of challenges and disadvantages relative to their typically-developing peers. Vital to improving the developmental trajectory of young children with special needs is to minimize potential developmental delay and avert the long-run costs from special education placement by intervening during the critical biological window of infancy and toddlerhood. Considering that the prevalence of disability among children has more than doubled since the 1980s, and children with disabilities represent 13 percent of public school enrollment, population-level interventions in the academic trajectories of these vulnerable students is a central concern for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and parents.
The overarching research question in this proposal is “Do state early childhood policies impact the provision of early learning services for children with, or at risk of disability?” In this two-study research project, I will assess the impacts of two early childhood policies that vary across states. Study 1 uses differences in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act, Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program (Part C) eligibility laws across states and over time to examine how early intervention for infants and toddlers who are vulnerable to delayed development influences their long-run education, health, and labor market outcomes. Study 2 uses differences across states and over time in the introduction of states’ prekindergarten programs to examine their impact on the enrollment of children with disabilities in federal Head Start programs. I use a quasi-experimental, state fixed effects analysis in both studies to control for unchanging (“fixed”) characteristics of states so that I will be able to discern the effects of states’ policies on children with disabilities from that of other unobserved state factors.