Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 343–353

Supporting Child Welfare and Parent Involvement in Preschool Programs

  • Aimee Hilado
  • Leanne Kallemeyn
  • Christine Leow
  • Marta Lundy
  • Marla Israel


This article discusses the findings from a mixed-method study examining the relationship between social resources and levels of parent involvement in state-funded preschool programs in Illinois. Using survey data from the Illinois Birth to Five Evaluation (n = 843) and interviews with ten preschool administrators who completed the survey, the study found the number of social resources provided by a program was positively associated with levels of parent involvement. The correlation analysis (r = −0.22, p = .0001) and analysis of variance (ANOVA) F(2,708) = 23.19, p = .0001 findings both demonstrated positive relationships wherein high numbers of social resources were associated with higher levels of parent involvement in programs. Administrator interviews confirmed survey findings and suggested additional influences on parent involvement levels and use of social resources in programs. Implications for supporting child welfare and policy recommendations for early childhood programs are provided.


Early childhood programs Preschool programs Child welfare Parent involvement Social support Social resources 


  1. Arnold, D. H., Zeljio, A., Doctoroff, G. L., & Ortiz, C. (2008). Parent involvement in preschool: Predictors and the relation of involvement to preliteracy development. School Psychology Review, 37(1), 74–90. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.flagship.luc.edu/ehost.Google Scholar
  2. Bost, K. K., Vaughn, B. E., Boston, A. L., Kazura, K. L., & O’Neal, C. (2004). Social support networks of African-American children attending Head Start: A longitudinal investigation of structural and supportive network characteristics. Social Development, 13(3), 394–412. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2004.00274.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (Eds.). (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs: Serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.Google Scholar
  4. Cresswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  5. Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Fuller, B., & Kagan, S. L. (2000). Remember the children: Mothers balance work and child care under welfare reform. Growing up in poverty project 2000; wave 1 findingsCalifornia, Connecticut, Florida. Berkeley, CA: Graduate School of Education-PACE, University of California. Retrieved from Graduate School of Education-PACE website: http://pace.berkeley.edu.
  7. Garbarino, J., & Ganzel, B. (2000). The human ecology of early risk. In J. P. Shonkoff & S. J. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed., pp. 76–93). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Garcia-Coll, C., & Magnuson, K. (2000). Cultural differences as sources of developmental vulnerabilities and resources. In J. P. Shonkoff & S. J. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed., pp. 94–114). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gonzalez-DeHass, A. R., Willems, P. P., & Doan Holbein, M. F. (2005). Examining the relationship between parental involvement and student motivation. Educational Psychology Review, 17(2), 99–123. doi:10.1007/s10648-005-3949-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greene, J. C. (2007). Mixed methods in social inquiry. San Francisco, CA: Wiley.Google Scholar
  11. Hardy, F., & Darlington, Y. (2008). What parents value from formal support services in the context of identified child abuse. Child and Family Social Work, 13, 252–261. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.flagship.luc.edu/ehost.
  12. Henry, G. T., Henderson, L. W., Ponder, B. D., Gordon, C. S., Mashburn, A. J., & Rickman, D. K. (2003). Report of the findings from the Early Childhood Study: 200102. Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University, Education Policy Group. Retrieved from Georgia State University website: http://www.gsu.edu/~wwwsps/publications/2003/earlychildhood.htm.
  13. Kim, H. S., Sherman, D. K., & Taylor, S. E. (2008). Culture and social support. American Psychologists, 63(6), 518–526. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kirp, D. L. (2007). The sandbox investment: The preschool movement and kid’s first politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  16. Laible, D. (2007). Attachment with parents and peers in late adolescents: Links with emotional competence and social behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 43(5), 1185–1197. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2007.03.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lopez, E. J., Ehley, S., & Garcia-Vazquez, E. (2002). Acculturation, social support and academic achievement of Mexican and Mexican American high school students: An exploratory study. Psychology in the Schools, 39(3), 245–257. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.flagship.luc.edu/ehost.
  18. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Mo, Y., & Singh, K. (2008). Parents’ relationships and involvement: Effects on students’ school engagement and performance. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 31(10), 1–11. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.flagship.luc.edu/ehost.
  20. Nells, S. M., & Rae, G. (2008). Brief report: Peer attachment in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 32(2), 443–447. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/.Google Scholar
  21. Olds, D. L., Sadler, L., & Kitzman, H. (2007). Programs for parents of infants and toddlers: Recent evidence from randomized trials. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(4), 355–391. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.flagship.luc.edu/ehost.Google Scholar
  22. Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Pianta, R. (2005). Family-school communication in pre-school and kindergarten in the context of a relationship-enhancing intervention. Early Education and Development, 16(3), 287–316. doi:10.1207/s15566935eed1603_1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ritchie, S., & Willer, B. (Eds.). (2008). Standard 7: Families and standard 8: Community relationships: A guide to the NAEYC early childhood program standards and related accreditation criteria. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.Google Scholar
  24. Schweinhart, L. J. (2004). A school administrator’s guide to early childhood programs (2nd ed.). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.Google Scholar
  25. Schweinhart, L. J., Barnes, H. V., & Weikart, D. P. (1993). Significant benefits: The high/scope perry preschool study through age 27. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.Google Scholar
  26. Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early child development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  27. Simmons, B. L., Gooty, J., Nelson, D. L., & Little, L. M. (2009). Secure attachments: Implications for hope, trust, burnout and performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30(2), 233–247. doi:10.1002/job.585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thompson, M. S., & Peebles-Wilkins, W. (1992). The impact of formal, informal, and societal support networks on the psychological well-being of black adolescent mothers. National Association of Social Workers, 37(4), 322–328. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.flagship.luc.edu/ehost.
  29. Urdang, E. (2008). Human behavior in the social environment (2nd ed.). Binghamton, NY: Haworth Social Work Practice Press.Google Scholar
  30. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (DHHS-ACF). (2005). Head start impact study: First year findings. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/reports/first_yr_finds/firstyr_finds_title.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aimee Hilado
    • 1
  • Leanne Kallemeyn
    • 1
  • Christine Leow
    • 2
  • Marta Lundy
    • 1
  • Marla Israel
    • 1
  1. 1.Loyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Erikson InstituteChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations