A study in the Journal of Family Issues explored the associations between neighborhood social processes (e.g., social disorder) and parenting qualities among mothers of children age 2-4. Higher levels of positive neighborhood characteristics were associated with reduced parenting stress and higher positive parenting qualities for all mothers, but neighborhood social processes were especially impactful for single mothers. The author suggests that enhancing neighborhood supports can be helpful for promoting healthier parenting across multiple dimensions, particularly for single mothers. View Resource
The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers released its “The State of Preschool” document for 2018. The authors find that state pre-kindergarten enrollment has been largely flat since the post-recession (2013) increase, and importantly, that at the current pace of growth, “it would take states nearly 20 years to serve just half of all 4-year-olds in preschool” (5). The report ranks Maine in 12th place for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in state prekindergarten (42% in 2017-2018) and notes that Maine meets nine of NIEER’s 10 benchmarks for quality preschool. The authors point to a need for state and local support for early learning, particularly in a context of decreased federal support.
The State of Babies Yearbook released by the Zero to Three initiative and Child Trends
explores how very young children are faring state-by-state on indicators related to
health, strong families, and early learning. Ranking the states into quartiles in a four category classification system, the report classified Maine in its highest category of
overall wellbeing for babies (along with all the other states of New England)
A new brief from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation elucidates the
relationship between early care and education licensing and program quality. Beyond
conceptualizing licensing as simply a “permission to operate” mechanism, this brief
provides a framework for policymakers and ECE professionals to make use of the
licensing process and its components to improve and support quality programming.
The Urban Institute and the Office for Planning, Research, and Evaluation published a
report reviewing child care subsidy policy differences, including family eligibility, across
states and U.S. territories. Compared with other states, Maine is unusual in that it does
not formally prioritize homeless families or children under Child Protective Services for
subsidy receipt; most of Maine’s other policies align with the majority of states’ policies.
An article published in the Journal of Family Issues explores associations between
maternal income during childhood and later adolescent health and behavioral outcomes.
The authors find that net of other family income and demographic measures, higher
maternal income in early childhood—that is, between 6 months of age and first grade—
is associated with fewer adolescent problem behaviors at age 15, but not with changes
in health outcomes. Maternal income in later childhood (Grade 3 through age 15) was
not associated with either behavioral or health outcomes. The authors suggest that
“investments in children between birth and first grade might be especially beneficial for
reducing problem behaviors” (14).
The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the federal Administration for
Children and Families published findings related to its Early Head Start-Child Care
Partnerships grants, awarded in 2015. These grants aimed to connect the child
development and family support services of Early Head Start with the flexibility and
responsiveness of broader child care providers. The report found that partnerships
were often between nonprofit, community organizations who were able to build on
existing relationships and leverage funds from other sources to meet their community’s
needs. However, challenges around meeting Head Start Program Performance
Standards—particularly around staff-child ratios and health and safety—caused about
one-third of partnerships to end early. The study includes lessons on developing
partnerships and supporting activities that improve the quality of service to infants,
toddlers, and their families.
The state of Maine has sixteen Head Start grantees, operating eleven Head Start (HS) programs, three American Indian & Alaska Native Head Start (AIAN HS) programs, and thirteen Early Head Start (EHS) programs (see Table 1). In the 2015–2016 program year, sites operated by these sixteen grantees served 4,126 children and pregnant women.
The majority of Maine Head Start enrollees (88 percent) participate in a center-based program; the most popular program option is part-week (four days) enrollment in a center (Figure 1). Most children (91 percent) enrolled in part-week programs are also enrolled for part-day programming (6 hours or fewer per day). View Resource
The Campaign is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation — grade-level reading by the end of third grade. View Resource