Young Children

A More Diverse Teaching Force May Improve Educational Outcomes for Minority Students (Infographic)

A More Diverse Teaching Force May Improve Educational Outcomes for Minority Students (Infographic)

Mathematica released a research infographic suggesting that greater diversity among teachers may improve minority students’ educational outcomes. The research finds that “most minority students are not taught by teachers of the same race and ethnicity” and that while the student body is diversifying quickly, teacher demographics are not keeping pace. The authors conclude that while it’s not clear why matching race-ethnicity drives better outcomes for students, cultural relevance and positive role modeling may play a role. View Resource
Neighborhood Qualities and Parenting Among Mothers With Young Children

Neighborhood Qualities and Parenting Among Mothers With Young Children

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

Inequitable Access to Child Care Subsidies

Inequitable Access to Child Care Subsidies

A new analysis from CLASP explores how access to child care subsidies varies by state and race-ethnicity. The report finds that only 8 percent of potentially eligible children received subsidies in 2016, with especially high rates of access among black children (15 percent) and especially low rates among Asian children (3 percent). Access by state ranged from 15 percent in New Mexico to 3 percent in the District of Columbia (Maine was among 13 states excluded from the analysis due to data quality issues). The authors concluded that improving data collection and better understanding the causes of racialethnic stratification in access should be next steps. View Resource
A Conceptual Model for Quality in Home-Based Child Care

A Conceptual Model for Quality in Home-Based Child Care

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation has published a new conceptual model for understanding and promoting quality in home-based child care. Major components of the model include laying foundations for sustainability of care (e.g., engaging resources, managing finances), building lasting relationships (e.g., with children, community members), and identifying opportunities for learning and development (e.g., capitalizing on available materials, supporting children’s ability to learn with and from each other). Amid a broader context of declining home-based care and increased focus on quality, this model seeks to provide strategies for supporting and retaining homebased providers. View Resource
Evaluation of Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants

Evaluation of Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants

A new report from Mathematica evaluates results from Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants. These grants aimed to increase the share of early childhood education programs that use a quality ratings system and that are highly scored in those systems. The grants did indeed meet this goal, but the report finds that children in higher-quality programs did not have better developmental outcomes than children in lower-rated programs. The authors suggest that program-level improvements related to management and administration may improve program quality but may not directly translate to improved outcomes for children. View Resource
2018 State of Preschool Yearbook

2018 State of Preschool Yearbook

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.

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State of Babies Yearbook 2019

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)

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The Role of Licensing in Supporting Quality Practices in Early Care and Education

The Role of Licensing in Supporting Quality Practices in Early Care and Education

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.

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Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2017

Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2017

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.

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Is Maternal Income in Childhood Associated With Adolescent Health and Behavioral Outcomes?

Is Maternal Income in Childhood Associated With Adolescent Health and Behavioral Outcomes?

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).

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Working Together for Children and Families: Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

Working Together for Children and Families: Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

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.

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Developing a State Learning Agenda: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

Developing a State Learning Agenda: The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten entry. At the federal level, MIECHV has engaged in a strategic approach, the MIECHV Learning Agenda, to develop a portfolio of evidence about the implementation and impacts of MIECHV in multiple settings and contexts. The agenda includes a variety of activities, including performance measurement, continuous quality improvement (CQI), systematic reviews, descriptive research, and implementation and impact evaluation. States and territories receiving funding from MIECHV are encouraged to conduct rigorous state-led evaluations. State-led evaluations address questions of interest to the state and provide new insights on the scale-up and implementation of home visiting programs. MIECHV encourages state awardees to develop their own learning agendas to ensure that they use the best available evidence to improve performance. View Resource
Overdue for Investment: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2018

Overdue for Investment: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2018

Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It makes it possible for parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it bolsters our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care. View Resource
Nation's Progress on Children's Health Coverage Reverses Course

Nation's Progress on Children's Health Coverage Reverses Course

For the first time since comparable data was first collected in 2008, the nation’s steady progress in reducing the number of children without health insurance reversed course. The number of uninsured children under age 191 nationwide increased by an estimated 276,000 to about 3.9 million (3,925,000) in 2017, according to newly-available data from the U.S. Census Bureau (Figure 1). The rate of uninsured children ticked upward from the historic low of 4.7 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017 (Figure 2). Both of these changes were large enough to be statistically significant.

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Who Was Poor in the United States in 2017?

Who Was Poor in the United States in 2017?

For the past few years, The Hamilton Project has released an annual report characterizing poverty in America. Describing who is poor is critical for making anti-poverty policy and directly relevant to determining eligibility for means-tested programs.

In 2017, 12.3 percent of the population—39.7 million people—lived in poverty, as defined by the official poverty measure [1]. The share of the population living in poverty was statistically significantly lower in 2017 than in 2016 by 0.4 percentage points. View Resource
Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families:  A State-by-State Analysis

Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families: A State-by-State Analysis

Recognizing the critical importance of children’s earliest years in terms of brain development and later life outcomes, the federal government invests billions of dollars each year in programs designed to provide early care and education (ECE) to children under the age of five. Most federal funds flow through programs managed by federal agencies—principally the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—to the states, which have wide discretion regarding how the funds are administered and coordinated to provide ECE services. Additionally, many states fund Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and preschool programs using their own state resources. View Resource
Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families:  A State-by-State Analysis

Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families: A State-by-State Analysis

Recognizing the critical importance of children’s earliest years in terms of brain development and later life outcomes, the federal government invests billions of dollars each year in programs designed to provide early care and education (ECE) to children under the age of five. Most federal funds flow through programs managed by federal agencies—principally the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—to the states, which have wide discretion regarding how the funds are administered and coordinated to provide ECE services. Additionally, many states fund Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and preschool programs using their own state resources. View Resource
A Child's Day: Parental Interaction, School Engagement, and Extracurricular Activities: 2014

A Child's Day: Parental Interaction, School Engagement, and Extracurricular Activities: 2014

Children’s lives are shaped by their experiences in school and in extracurricular activities—both of which are sources of learning, identity formation, and socialization. This report uses a number of indicators to portray aspects of children’s well-being, primarily as it relates to involvement in school and extracurricular activities. The report also explores other aspects of children’s lives, such as parental engagement in reading, outings, and shared dinners. The findings come from Wave 1 of the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). View Resource
Material Hardship among Nonelderly Adults and Their Families in 2017

Material Hardship among Nonelderly Adults and Their Families in 2017

Federal and state policymakers are weighing changes to federal programs that help low-income people meet their basic needs for food, medical care, and shelter. As policymakers consider these changes to the public safety net, they run the risk of increasing material hardship, which could have detrimental short- and long-term impacts on children and adults. View Resource
Household Food Security in the United States in 2017

Household Food Security in the United States in 2017

An estimated 11.8 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2017, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. That is down from 12.3 percent in 2016. The prevalence of very low food security also declined, to 4.5 percent from 4.9 percent in 2016. View Resource
Behavioral Intervention Materials Compendium

Behavioral Intervention Materials Compendium

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) releases a report on their Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, which uses behavioral insights to design interventions for social programs that serve vulnerable families. The report covers the application of these interventions in child care, child support, and work support programs across several states. Some relevant interventions include an assessment metric and individualized assistance for parents selecting a child care provider, reducing the complexity of the process for redetermination in child care funding assistance eligibility, and other processes related to families with children View Resource
Head Start in Rural America

Head Start in Rural America

Nome, Alaska, situated on Alaska’s west coast near the Arctic Circle, boasts postcard-worthy views of the state’s wilderness and is the finish line for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.2 It is also home to nearly 4,000 residents and serves as the hub for nearby Kawerak Head Start, a grantee that operates 11 centers across the Seward Peninsula and Saint Lawrence Island.3 Their Head Start programs are the only early education options in the region, serving about 240 Alaska Native children from remote villages and towns. View Resource
Maine Head Start Report: 2017

Maine Head Start Report: 2017

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

2017 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

2017 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book urges policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults. The Data Book also shows the child poverty rate in 2015 continued to drop, landing at 21%. In addition, children experienced gains in reading proficiency and a significant increase in the number of kids with health insurance. However, the data indicate that unacceptable levels of children living in poverty and in high-poverty neighborhoods persist. View Resource
Toward a More Equal Footing: Early Head Start in Maine

Toward a More Equal Footing: Early Head Start in Maine

One program that connects the most economically vulnerable families with quality early childhood programming is Early Head Start (EHS). Subject to rigorous quality and staffing standards, implemented among the youngest children (prenatally through age 2), and delivered via a two-generation approach, EHS is a significant opportunity for providing quality care and education to a population that might otherwise struggle to access it. This brief explores the characteristics of EHS in Maine, compares them to the national landscape, and connects these findings to a discussion of the federal and state policy climates. View Resource
2017 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

2017 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

The 2017 Maine Kids Count Data Book is Maine’s only comprehensive report of the physical, social, economic and educational well-being of Maine children. This year the data book reveals that despite slight improvements in child poverty and health care coverage rates, soaring infant mortality rates and child and teen suicide rates signal cause for concern. View Resource
Children and Families at the Center

Children and Families at the Center

In this shifting landscape, it is urgent that we articulate and advance a concrete agenda for children and families that leaders can embrace at the community, state, and national levels. Both political parties agree: Investing in children and families yields major returns, including safer communities, a more educated workforce, and a stable economy. We have an opportunity to build on this common ground and shared commitment while holding our systems accountable for ensuring positive outcomes for children, families, and communities. View Resource
Early Childhood Education: A Strong Foundation

Early Childhood Education: A Strong Foundation

The issue highlighted in this brief is early childhood education. The more we learn about human development, the more we understand the importance of early childhood nurturing for lifetime success. Early childhood begins with birth and continues to third grade. At each stage of growth along the way, a child can benefit from the nurture and stimulation of high-quality early childhood education. The early years are the best time to prevent achievement gaps from developing and becoming locked in. View Resource
A Movement to Transform Foster Parenting

A Movement to Transform Foster Parenting

This report explores ways for public agencies to ensure that children receive the care they need by enlisting more volunteers to step forward as foster parents and by encouraging the extraordinary individuals who have already answered the call to continue their commitment to care. The report identifies three major themes for engaging and empowering foster parents: ensuring quality caregiving for children; forging strong relationships; and, finding and keeping more amazing caregivers. View Resource
Education Indicators for Maine

Education Indicators for Maine

The 2016 Education Indicators Report for Maine has been developed to explore and better understand Maine’s education pipeline from preschool through postsecondary education. The focus is on the 10 Indicators we have identified which we believe best measure Maine’s educational performance. The ten Indicators that we measure follow the path of each Maine child as he or she grows and learns. View Resource
From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts

From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts

This report synthesizes 15 years of dramatic advances in the science of early childhood and early brain development, analyzes evidence generated by 50 years of program evaluation research, and presents a framework for driving science-based innovation in early childhood policy and practice. View Resource
Mapping the Early Attendance Gap

Mapping the Early Attendance Gap

This report from Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign shows how disparities in school attendance rates starting as early as preschool and kindergarten are contributing to achievement gaps and high school dropout rates across the country. The report also highlights the connection between health and attendance and the power of states to tackle absenteeism by tapping key champions, leveraging data, and learning from places that have improved attendance despite challenging conditions. View Resource
Child Poverty and Adult Success

Child Poverty and Adult Success

One in every five children currently lives in poverty, but nearly twice as many experience poverty sometime during childhood. Using 40 years of data, this analysis follows children from birth to age 17, then through their 20s, to examine how childhood poverty and family and neighborhood characteristics relate to achievement in young adulthood, such as completing high school by age 20, enrolling in postsecondary education by age 25, completing a four-year college degree by age 25, and being consistently employed from ages 25 to 30. Parents’ education achievement, residential stability, and neighborhood quality all relate to adult success. View Resource
KIDS COUNT Data Book

KIDS COUNT Data Book

The KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual publication from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Using an index of 16 indicators, the report ranks states on overall child well-being and in economic well-being, education, health and family and community. View Resource
National Association for the Education of Young Children

National Association for the Education of Young Children

NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. View Resource
The National Summer Learning Association

The National Summer Learning Association

The National Summer Learning Association is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works in summer learning, develops and delivers capacity-building offerings and convenes and empowers key actors to embrace summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. View Resource
Maine Kids Count Data Book

Maine Kids Count Data Book

Since 1994, the Maine KIDS COUNT project has published the annual Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book using the most recent data available on the well-being of children in the areas of physical and emotional health, social and economic status, and child care and education View Resource
National Campaign for Grade Level Reading

National Campaign for Grade Level Reading

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