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A Research Study to Support Family Engagement in Head Start Centers During COVID-19 and Beyond

Start Date January 2021 End Date December 2022
Keywords Head Start family empowerment community partnerships


The federal Office of Head Start provides a Parent, Family and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework to guide engagement across all programs, and gives Head Start leadership and staff at sites the flexibility to design specific engagement strategies that meet the needs of their parents and communities. This qualitative study has two aims that inform the implementation of PFCE in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. First, this study gathers the perspectives of Head Start staff, Head Start parents/caregivers, and social workers from the NYC Division of Early Childhood Education on how to best implement the PFCE Framework. Second, this study works with teams of parents/caregivers at three Head Start sites as they design engagement strategies for their site; and measures the impact of this process on parents’ sense of self-efficacy and social connection. 


This study will be situated in three Head Start sites across NYC. 
3 Head Start Sites
  • 3 to 5 Head Start Staff per site
  • 5 to 10 Head Start parents/ caregivers per site
  • 3 to 5 DECE Social Workers who support Head Start sites
Data Collection
  • 1 on 1 interviews with Head Start Staff and DECE Social Workers
  • 1 on 1 interviews with Head Start parents/caregivers
  • A series of 4 focus groups with the team of Head Start parents/caregivers at each site
  • 1 meeting with Head Start staff and team of Head Start parents/caregivers at each site


Zoelene Hill, PhD, Research Scientist

Shaneah Taylor, MPH, Senior Program Officer

Contributing Institutions

New York Academy of Medicine