Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey: Baby FACES 2018

Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Young child smiling


Since 1995, Early Head Start programs have served low-income pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers up to age three with a wide range of services and multiple strategies. The programs’ offerings include child development services delivered in home visits or child care settings, case management, parenting education, health care, referrals, and family support.

Sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Mathematica has launched a new five-year descriptive study of Early Head Start. The Early Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (Baby FACES 2018) will guide program technical assistance, management, and policy. Baby FACES 2018 builds on the success of an earlier study (Baby FACES 2009), but uses a different design and answers different questions. It will provide information about Early Head Start programs in the context of the adoption of the new Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and the new Head Start Program Performance Standards.

The study team and expert consultants have developed a conceptual framework for the Early Head Start program and subframeworks that focus on the aspects of the program that will be the focus of the study. ACF’s priority for Baby FACES 2018 is understanding the processes in classrooms and home visits that support responsive relationships.

To address this overarching research question and many other more specific ones, we will select repeated nationally representative cross-sectional samples of programs, centers, classrooms, home visitors, children, and families (in spring 2018 and 2020). In the first wave of data collection, we will sample 140 programs, 500 centers, 850 classrooms and teachers, 600 home visitors, and 2,300 enrolled children. From this sample, we will interview program directors, center directors, teachers, home visitors, and parents; conduct classroom observations; and collect staff reports on study children.

Mathematica's partners in the study are Virginia Marchman, Stanford University; Jon Korfmacher, the Erikson Institute; and Margaret Burchinal, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, as well as many early childhood development and measurement experts who serve as consultants.

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