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Message from OPRE

Monthly Spotlight

Other Featured Resources

Critical Topic: Childhood Obesity

This edition of Research Connections News & Resources includes a message from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) about the upcoming transition for Research Connections. This newsletter highlights new research on the following topics: changes in infant/toddler care; workforce turnover in early childhood education (ECE); resources that promote positive workforce engagement; and the effectiveness of voluntary summer learning programs. It also includes a literature review concerning the supply of family child care. This month’s “Critical Topic” focuses on childhood obesity. Additionally, there are several  new opportunities highlighted.
Message from OPRE
Since 2004, Research Connections has served as a hub for child care and early education research, providing a place for state, territory, Tribal, and community leaders and researchers to learn. From the beginning, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan hosted, supported, and enhanced both the website and the library record system behind the public site.

As Research Connections moves into a new phase, OPRE shares sincere gratitude for ICPSR’s website support and dedication to making child care and early education research more accessible to the people who need it. Thank you to Susan Jekielek for her leadership, Ambyr Amen-Ra for her management, Daphne Lin for her technical support, Wendi Fornoff for her website support, and others, who currently or previously, served on the ICPSR team for their tremendous contributions throughout the years.

Directors of Research Connections at ICPSR from 2004 to present (listed successively):
Myron Gutman
George Alter
Susan Jekielek

What’s Next for Research Connections
Research Connections will continue to serve as a hub for child care and early education research under the leadership of ICF. Keep your eye out this month for the new website design giving you access to our extensive library of research publications (at the same URL—
Monthly Spotlight

Who Cares for Infants and Toddlers? Change from 2012 to 2019 and Its Implications
This brief provides an overview of the changes in infant/toddler care from 2012 to 2019 and discusses the policy and research implications of those changes. While parental care remains the most prevalent care option for infants and toddlers, the data show a trend toward increased center-based care across all age levels.

Other Featured Resources
All of the resources in this section are available to the public for free.

Center- and Program-Level Factors Associated with Turnover in the Early Childhood Education Workforce

This study looks at the factors associated with ECE staff turnover rates in child care centers. The findings indicate that some factors, such as higher pay, are associated with lower turnover rates. Turnover is significantly lower in state-funded preschool programs than for centers where parents paid for care.

Early Childhood Teachers’ Self-Efficacy and Professional Support Predict Work Engagement
This study examines the factors that predict ECE teachers’ work engagement. The study investigates teachers from Head Start, center-based, and licensed home-based programs. Findings suggest that providing ECE teachers with personal and professional resources may improve workplace engagement.
Every Summer Counts: A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project
This report looks at the effectiveness of voluntary summer learning programs in five school districts across the United States. The study examines whether participation in summer learning impacts student achievement the following fall. This report is part of a series that can be found on the Research Connections website.

The Shifting Supply of Regulated Family Child Care in the U.S.: A Literature Review and Conceptual Model
This literature review provides a comprehensive look at factors that may contribute to the decline of regulated family child care in the United States. It offers a conceptual model, findings from the literature, and potential supports for family child care providers.

Critical Topic: Childhood Obesity
This month, Research Connections is highlighting research on health and wellness. Child care and early education programs play a key role in improving children’s health and wellness by providing access to healthy meals and physical activity. Note that readers may need to pay for some of the following journal articles.
Authors of “Evaluation of ‘Healthy Way To Grow’: An Obesity Prevention Program in Early Care and Education Centers,” an Early Childhood Education Journal article, evaluated an obesity prevention program in early care and education centers.

Obesity Prevention within the Early Childhood Education and Care Setting: A Systematic Review of Dietary Behavior and Physical Activity Policies and Guidelines in High Income Countries,” an International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health article, includes reviews and syntheses of dietary behavior and physical activity policies and highlights consistencies among the policies.
Researchers studied the associations between behavior problems and obesity in children attending Head Start. Authors of “Cross-Lagged Associations Between Behaviour Problems and Obesity in Head Start Preschoolers,” a Pediatric Obesity journal article, share the results of the research.

Explore more publications from Research Connections on physical and mental health and safety.
Consultant to support the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium. ICF seeks a part-time consultant to support activities related to the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium. Learn more by emailing to request the position description. Applications are due June 25.

Family Self-Sufficiency Demonstration Development Grants These cooperative agreements are intended for entities looking to strengthen and evaluate coordinated, client-centered approaches to improving family self-sufficiency. They provide support in planning for and execution of evaluation-related activities by eligible entities that serve low-income families with children. Learn more and apply at (Application due July 2).

Head Start University Partnership: Building the Evidence Base for ECE Workforce Well-Being. This grant program will support projects that will contribute to the knowledge base regarding the individual, program, and community factors that promote the well-being of Head Start and/or Early Head Start education staff (i.e., teachers and assistant teachers). Learn more and apply at (Application due July 6).

African American Child and Family Research Center This grant program will lead and support research on the needs of African American populations served by ACF and promising approaches to promote social and economic well-being among low-income African American populations. Learn more and apply at (Applications due July 12).

Coordinated Evaluations of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies and Initiatives: Planning Grants (Phase I). This grant program will support partnerships between CCDF Lead Agencies and researchers to develop rigorous, policy-relevant evaluations testing child care subsidy policies designed to increase low-income families’ access to high quality child care. Learn more at and apply at (Application due July 20).
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Copyright © 2021 ICF, All rights reserved.

Until March 30, 2019, Research Connections was supported under grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Research Connections is now supported by contract #HHSP233201500071I from OPRE, ACF, HHS. The contents do not necessarily represent the views of OPRE, ACF, or HHS. 

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