Resource Library

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources.

We invite you to check back often, as this list is regularly updated.


A Spotlight on Professional Development in Head Start

September 4, 2019 – Young Children

Using data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), Mathematica explores professional development among Head Start staff. The brief finds that training and conferences are the most common kind of professional development among program and center directors, although program directors are the most likely to report participating. The Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is identified as an especially useful technical resource, and there are few differences in the kinds of supports available across programs. However, smaller programs do struggle to provide some specific resources to staff, and the report concludes by recommending targeting additional resources to smaller centers, and center directors (rather than just program directors).

Born to Win, Schooled to Lose

August 5, 2019 – Older Youth, Young Children

New research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce finds evidence that children are sorted into adulthood socio-economic status groups according to their affluence in childhood, not their merit (i.e., test scores). The report finds, among other insights, that “the highest-SES students with bottom-half math scores are more likely to complete college degrees than the lowest-SES students with top-half math scores.” The authors recommend continuing academic interventions beyond just early childhood education and providing nonacademic supports for high schoolers to improve their transition to adulthood.

The New Economy and Child Care: Nonstandard-Hour Work, Child Care, and Child Health and Well-Being

August 5, 2019 – Young Children, Families

Mathematica and the American Public Health Services Association released a report on the intersections between non-standard-hour work, childcare, and child wellbeing. Using existing data from the Fragile Families study, plus primary data from 34 states’ childcare administrators, the study finds associations between mothers working at least some nonstandard work hours and childcare instability for their children. Data from the states indicate that while supporting parents who work nonstandard hours is a recognized challenge, most states could not quantify demand for nonstandard care, and admitted that it was not the highest priority amid competing demands in the childcare landscape. The authors suggest increased overall funding for childcare subsidies, incentivizing the provision of nonstandard hours, and better supporting informal providers with funding and training.

Child Care Subsidy Stability Literature Review

July 19, 2019 – Young Children

The Administration for Children and Families released a new literature review on childcare subsidy stability. The report finds that “implementation and administration of subsidy policy may be as important for subsidy stability and the policies themselves;” that longer-term use of subsidies is more important than uptake rates in ensuring childcare arrangement stability, and that longer eligibility periods are associated with subsidy stability. The report concludes with a call to acknowledge policy context in childcare subsidy research.

Does Head Start work? The debate over the Head Start Impact Study, explained

July 19, 2019 – Young Children

A publication from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center Chalkboard initiative dives deeply into the mixed reports around the Head Start Impact Study, with attention to the methodological issues in the study. Due to challenges in random assignment in the original study, some “control group” students actually enrolled in Head Start, and vice versa. Using sophisticated modeling techniques, the Brookings report concludes that Head Start indeed improves cognitive skills. The report also suggests that while increasing experimental education research can be useful, researchers and policymakers should also retain a focus on the methodical rigor of the actual study, not just its design.

Child Care and Early Education Equity: A State Action Agenda

June 28, 2019 – Young Children

A report from CLASP details action steps for state policymakers seeking equity in child care and early education. Specific agenda items include evaluation of policies and consultation with experts (including low income families); supporting workforce development through training and compensation; expanding the reach of existing efforts like child care subsidies, quality standards systems, and Head Start; and making specific strategic investments in early childhood programming.

Wellness Check: Food Insecurity Among Families with Infants and Toddlers

June 28, 2019 – Families, Young Children

A factsheet from the Urban Institute finds that families with children younger than three have especially high rates of food insecurity, with one-in-four (26.6 percent) experiencing it in the past 12 months. Among low income parents of very young children, rates increased to more than half (50.9 percent). The report emphasizes that lack of adequate, nutritious food is especially damaging for young children, and concludes with action steps for policymakers and practitioners, including expanding screenings and supporting federal nutrition programs. (

Report: Does Supportive Housing Keep Families Together?

June 6, 2019 – Families, Young Children, Older Youth

In 2012, the Children’s Bureau in the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families funded Partnerships to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System, a five-year, $25 million demonstration that provided supportive housing to families in the child welfare system, in five sites. The Urban Institute has completed a six-year cross-site evaluation, a mixed-methods randomized controlled trial that included 807 families. Research focused on answering the following: Does supportive housing improve access to services, keep families stably housed, help keep families together and reduce their time spent in the child welfare system, and improve the health and social and emotional well-being for parents and children?

Family Resilience And Connection Promote Flourishing Among US Children, Even Amid Adversity

May 24, 2019 – Young Children, Older Youth

A new article in Health Affairs explored the concept of "flourishing" among US children age 6-17, measured with indicators on curiosity, persistence, and regulating emotions. The authors found that 40 percent of US children are flourishing, and that across levels of adverse childhood experiences, household income, and special health care needs, children were more likely flourish when levels of family resilience and connection were high. The article also estimates prevalence of flourishing for each state, finding that Maine's rate (35.7 percent) was significantly lower than nationwide.

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

May 24, 2019 – Young Children

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.

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

May 20, 2019 – Young Children

A new brief from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation elucidates the<br />relationship between early care and education licensing and program quality. Beyond<br />conceptualizing licensing as simply a ?permission to operate? mechanism, this brief<br />provides a framework for policymakers and ECE professionals to make use of the licensing process and its components to improve and support quality programming.

Evaluation of Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants

May 20, 2019 – Young Children

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.