Improving child care quality in early head start programs: A partnership model

Lenna L. Ontai, Sue Hinrichs, Marti Beard, Brian L. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Many Early Head Start (EHS) programs do not provide child care directly but instead contract with existing community child care agencies to provide services. Such arrangements challenge EHS programs to create unique ways to ensure quality in the child care component of the program. The current research project reports on the efforts of a partnership between an EHS program and community child care agency to improve child care quality. The goal was to systematically identify changes in quality made within the EHS program as the result of a system of monitoring and assessment carried out under the partnership. The current study utilized ITERS and Arnett scales to assess the quality of the community center-based infant child care at the beginning of the EHS program and nine months later. The results indicate a significant improvement in some areas of child care whereas other areas appeared to be more difficult to enhance with the current method. Additionally, differential areas of improvement were found between infant and toddler classrooms. The discussion focuses on aspects of the partnership that most likely contributed to quality improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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