Descriptive Study of Continuity of Care Practice and Children’s Experience of Stability of Care in Early Head Start

Original Paper
  • 15 Downloads

Abstract

Background

Continuity of care (CoC) is a widely endorsed theory-based practice in center-based early childhood programs. Despite its widespread endorsement, however, there are few empirical studies of CoC or children’s actual experience of care stability in infant and toddler group settings.

Objective

This descriptive study investigated (1) the national percentage of EHS programs with centers implementing CoC, (2) potential differences between EHS programs with all or none of their operating centers implementing CoC, (3) the number of teacher changes children experienced during two consecutive years in EHS, as an indicator of early care stability, and (4) child and family characteristics of children having different levels of care stability during their EHS programs.

Methods

Using the recently released Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Study (Baby FACES) dataset, secondary analyses were conducted using descriptive statistics, mean difference tests, and Chi-square tests with sampling weights applied.

Results

Results showed that 29% of EHS programs reported no centers implementing CoC practices within their programs, and 57% of programs reported all of their centers implemented CoC. The 57% of EHS programs implementing CoC had greater stability of their administrative staff. Results further showed that during EHS, 29 and 34% of children experienced no or one teacher change, respectively, while 37% of children experienced two to six teacher changes. Child and family characteristics were generally not associated with children’s stability of care in EHS.

Conclusions

CoC is not uniformly implemented across EHS programs, and many children experience multiple teacher changes in center-based EHS programs.

Keywords

Continuity of care Stability of care Toddler group care Early Head Start Baby FACES 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) at Tulsa with funding from OU’s University Strategic Organization initiative and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Given the use of secondary dataset, this article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

References

  1. Aguillard, A. E., Pierce, S. H., Benedict, J. H., & Burts, D. C. (2005). Barriers to the implementation of continuity-of-care practices in child care centers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 20(3), 329–344.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2005.07.004.Google Scholar
  2. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: Observations in the strange situation and at home. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Cannon, J., Murphy, L., Bloomenthal, A., & Vogel, C. A. (2014). Baby FACES data users’ guide (Mathematica Reference No. 06432.136). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/cgi-bin/file?comp=none&study=36074&ds=0&file_id=1195516&path=CCEERC. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  4. Center for Law and Social Policy (2009). Reinvesting in child care: State infant/toddler policies promote continuity of care. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/0465.pdf. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  5. Colvard, J., & Schmit, S. (2012). Expanding access to Early Head Start: State initiatives for infants and toddlers at risk. Washington, DC: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Zero to Three. Retrieved from http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/ehsinitiatives.pdf. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  6. Copple, C., Bredekamp, S., Koralek, D., & Charner, K. (2013). Developmentally appropriate practice: Focus on infants and toddlers. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).Google Scholar
  7. Cryer, D., Hurwitz, S., & Wolery, M. (2000). Continuity of caregiver for infants and toddlers in center-based child care: Report on a survey of center practices. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15(4), 497–514.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-2006(01)00069-2.Google Scholar
  8. Cryer, D., Wagner-Moore, L., Burchinal, M., Yazejian, N., Hurwitz, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). Effects of transitions to new child care classes on infant/toddler distress and behavior. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 20(1), 37–56.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2005.01.005.Google Scholar
  9. Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. (2004). Early Head Start tip sheet (No. 21). Retrieved from https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehsnrc/docs/EHStipsheet-21.pdf. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  10. Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. (2015). About the Early Head Start program. Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehsnrc/about-ehs#about. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  11. Essa, E. L., Favre, K., Thweatt, G., & Waugh, S. (1999). Continuity of care for infants and toddlers. Early Child Development and Care, 148(1), 11–19.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0300443991480102.Google Scholar
  12. Garrity, S., Longstreth, S., & Alwashmi, M. (2016). A qualitative examination of the implementation of continuity of care: An organizational learning perspective. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 64–78.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2015.12.014.Google Scholar
  13. Glantz, F. B., & Layzer, J. (2000). The cost, quality and child outcomes study: A critique (Final Report). Retrieved from ABT Associates website http://www.abtassociates.com/Reports/ccqual.PDF. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  14. Goossens, F. A., & Van IJzendoorn, M. H. (1990). Quality of infants’ attachments to professional caregivers: Relation to infant-parent attachment and day-care characteristics. Child Development, 61(3), 832–837.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1130967.Google Scholar
  15. Helburn, S., & Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study Team. (1995). Cost, quality, and child outcomes in child care centers: Key findings and recommendations. Young Children, 50(4), 40–44. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42727039
  16. Howes, C., & Hamilton, C. E. (1993). The changing experience of child care: Changes in teachers and in teacher-child relationships and children’s social competence with peers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8(1), 15–32.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-2006(05)80096-1.Google Scholar
  17. Hynes, K., & Habasevich-Brooks, T. (2008). The ups and downs of child care: Variations in child care quality and exposure across the early years. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(4), 559–574.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2008.09.001.Google Scholar
  18. Longstreth, S., Garrity, S., Ritblatt, S. N., Olson, K., Virgilio, A., Dinh, H., et al. (2016). Teacher perspectives on the practice of continuity of care. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 30(4), 554–568.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2016.1215359.Google Scholar
  19. Love, J. M., Kisker, E. E., Ross, C., Raikes, H., Constantine, J., Boller, K., et al. (2005). The effectiveness of Early Head Start for 3-year-old children and their parents: Lessons for policy and programs. Developmental Psychology, 41(6), 885–901.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.41.6.885.Google Scholar
  20. McMullen, M. B., Yun, N. A., Mihai, A., & Kim, H. (2016). Experiences of parents and professionals in well-established continuity of care infant toddler programs. Early Education & Development, 27(2), 190–220.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2016.1102016.Google Scholar
  21. National Head Start Association. (n.d.). National Head Start fact sheet. Retrieved from https://www.nhsa.org/facts. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  22. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Early Child Care Research Network. (2002). Early child care and children’s development prior to school entry: Results from the NICHD study of early child care. American Educational Research Journal, 39(1), 133–164.  https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312039001133.Google Scholar
  23. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Early Child Care Research Network. (2005). Early child care and children’s development in the primary grades: Follow-up results from the NICHD study of early child care. American Educational Research Journal, 42(3), 537–570.  https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312042003537.Google Scholar
  24. Phillips, D., Austin, L. J., & Whitebook, M. (2016). The early care and education workforce. The Future of Children, 26(2), 139–158.  https://doi.org/10.1353/foc.2016.0016.Google Scholar
  25. Raikes, H. (1993). Relationship duration in infant care: Time with a high-ability teacher and infant-teacher attachment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8(3), 309–325.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-2006(05)80070-5.Google Scholar
  26. Ruprecht, K., Elicker, J., & Choi, J. Y. (2016). Continuity of care, caregiver–child interactions, and toddler social competence and problem behaviors. Early Education and Development, 27(2), 221–239.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2016.1102034.Google Scholar
  27. Sosinsky, L., Ruprecht, K., Horm, D., Kriener-Althen, K., Vogel, C., & Halle, T. (2016). Including relationship-based care practices in infant-toddler care: Implications for practice and policy. Brief prepared for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  28. Sroufe, L. A. (1988). The role of infant-caregiver attachment in development. In J. Belsky & T. Nezworski (Eds.), Clinical implications of attachment (pp. 18–38). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  29. StataCorp. (2015). Stata statistical software: Release 14. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  30. Thompson, R. A. (2000). The legacy of early attachments. Child Development, 71(1), 145–152.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00128.Google Scholar
  31. U.S. Department of Education. (2015). A matter of equity: Preschool in America. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/documents/early-learning/matter-equity-preschool-america.pdf. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  32. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), Administration for Children and Families. (1995). Early Head Start program grant availability. Federal Register: Notices, 60(52), 14548–14579. Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1995-03-17/pdf/95-6545.pdf.
  33. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Office of Head Start (2016). Head Start Program Performance Standards, 45 C.F.R. § 1302.21. Retrieved from https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/docs/hspps-appendix.pdf. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  34. Vogel, C. A., & Boller, K. (2009-2012). Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES) Spring 2009-Spring 2012. ICPSR36074-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-04-30.  https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36074.v1.
  35. Vogel, C. A., Boller, K., Xue, Y., Blair, R., Aikens, N., Burwick, A., et al. (2011). Learning as we go: A first snapshot of Early Head Start programs, staff, families, and children. (Report No. 2011-7). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/as_we_go.PDF. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  36. Vogel, C. A., Caronongan, P., Thomas, J., Bandel, E., Xue, Y., Henke, J., et al. (2015). Toddlers in Early Head Start: A portrait of 2-year-olds, their families, and the programs serving them (Report No. 2015-10). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/baby_faces_age_2_report_final_clean_2_3_15.pdf. Accessed 15 Dec 2017.
  37. Whitebook, M., & Sakai, L. (2003). Turnover begets turnover: An examination of job and occupational instability among child care center staff. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 18(3), 273–293.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0885-2006(03)00040-1.Google Scholar
  38. Yazejian, N., Bryant, D., Hans, S., Horm, D., St. Clair, L., File, N., et al. (2017). Child and parenting outcomes after one year of Educare. Child Development, 88, 1671–1688.  https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12688.Google Scholar
  39. Zero to Three. (2008). Caring for infants and toddlers in groups: Developmentally appropriate practice (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Zero to Three.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Early Childhood Education InstituteUniversity of Oklahoma-TulsaTulsaUSA

Personalised recommendations