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Center News

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June 28, 2017

Latino children under age five in the U.S. are enrolling in early care and education (ECE) centers at increasing rates. A new report from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families finds that centers serving high proportions of Hispanic children measure as well—if not better—than their counterparts on key indicators of quality. High-Hispanic-serving ECE centers reported a number of advantages as compared to other centers, including more curriculum use, support services, and benefits for staff.

Read more about these and other findings in the new brief, Centers Serving High Percentages of Young Hispanic Children Compare Favorably to Other Centers on Key Predictors of Quality.

June 21, 2017

OPRE Grant Announcement

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently published a discretionary research funding announcements titled “Family Strengthening Scholars.” If you have questions regarding this grant announcement, please email the OPRE grant review team at FSScholars@icfi.com or call 1-877-350-5913.

Family Strengthening Scholars

The full announcement for “Family Strengthening Scholars” is available online at: https://ami.grantsolutions.gov/files/HHS-2017-ACF-OPRE-PR-1209_0.htm.

OPRE intends to award up to three grants to support dissertation research on healthy marriage policy issues.  These grants are meant to build capacity in the research field to focus on questions that have direct implications for the healthy marriage field, and to foster mentoring relationships between faculty members and high-quality doctoral students. These grants are intended to address issues of significance to inform policy decisions and solutions, particularly for underserved/understudied populations (e.g., low-income families, minority populations), use rigorous research methodology (both primary data collection and secondary data analysis), and help inform the development of future intervention research.

Applicants may apply for project periods up to 24 months with two 12-month budget periods.  Up to $25,000 may be awarded for each budget period.  Letters of intent are due by June 26, 2017 and applications are due by July 14, 2017. 

April 25, 2017

Studies have long found that young Hispanic children are consistently less likely than their non-Hispanic peers to enroll in preschool. However, a new report from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families finds that 83 percent of low-income Hispanic children participated in some form of publicly funded center-based or home-based early childhood education. This rate is similar to that of their non-Hispanic peers.

Read more about these and other surprising findings in the new report, Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: A Look at Utilization Patterns of Chicago’s Publicly Funded Programs.

March 23, 2017

As communities become more culturally and linguistically diverse, community-based service organizations (CBOs) are called to do more to reduce disparities in access and use of important social services. An important strategy is developing cultural competency—behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable CBOs to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

A new resource guide from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families identifies easily accessible resources on cultural competency that CBOs can use to become more responsive to the needs of their targeted populations, and to help attract funds to support their important work. The guide features resources for choosing interventions, conducting needs assessments, selecting appropriate metrics, collaborating with other organizations, ensuring workforce diversity, budgeting for culturally competent programs and more.

Read Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations: A Resource Guide for Community-Based Organizations.

February 23, 2017

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families has just released a new brief series, “La Familia: Latino Families Strong and Stable, Despite Limited Resources.” The three briefs—including the first demographic portrait of Latino fathers—take a peek into Latino family life to examine how mothers, fathers, and boys are faring.

These new studies come at a time when public discourse sometimes portrays Latinos in an unflattering light—yet this new research finds that Latino families are resilient and stable, despite many having low levels of income and education. This is true for Latinos in general, but especially for Latino immigrant families.

Learn more from the three briefs:

November 17, 2016

New Research Finds Surprising Results When it Comes to
Latino Participation in Early Care and Education:
Public Policy Changes Appear to Pay Off, Attracting Hard to Reach Latino Groups

November 17, 2016
Contact: Tina Plaza
(240) 223-9378
Tplazawhoriskey@childtrends.org

Bethesda, MD—Three new reports from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families offer a fresh snapshot of early care and education (ECE) program use among Hispanic families across the United States. They suggest that Latino families are more willing to enroll their children in ECE programs than ever before. Such programs can help prepare low-income children for kindergarten and future academic success. The briefs in the series include:

“These reports indicate that the prior gap in ECE participation between low-income Hispanic children and their non-Hispanic peers is closing,” said Lina Guzman, co-principal investigator and director of the Child Trends Hispanic Institute. “This is important because Latino children have historically been under-represented in these programs, even though we know participation in high-quality ECE matters when it comes to kindergarten readiness.”

However, there is still work to be done. The new research also indicates that many Latino families need child care during off-hours. Two thirds of all low-income Hispanic children in ECE receive some care during evening, overnight, or weekend hours, representing roughly one third to half of their total time in care.

Key findings:

  • The gap in ECE participation rates between low-income Hispanic children and their peers appears to be closing. Nationally, roughly half of all low-income Hispanic children ages zero to 5, and nearly two thirds of Hispanic preschoolers (3 to 5), participated in ECE programs in 2012. Among those Hispanic preschool-aged children from low-income households who were in ECE programs, center-based programs were the most common type of ECE arrangement. Together, these findings suggest that Hispanic families are more receptive and likely to enroll in these programs when available.
  • Federal, state, and local investments in ECE programs appear to be paying off in closing the disparity gap in ECE participation. Low-income preschool-aged Hispanic children were as likely to be in center-based programs as their black and white peers were.
  • Low-income Hispanic children spend an average of 30 hours per week in ECE. This is comparable to black children of similar age, but more than white children. Average time spent in care did not differ based on children’s age or whether their parent(s) were born in the United States.
  • There is little evidence to support common explanations for Hispanics’ historically lower rates of participation in ECE. Hispanic parents, in general, hold perceptions about various aspects of care that are similar to the perceptions of black and white parents. Latino parents are no more likely to report having relatives available to care for their children than their white and black peers are.

While prior research suggested Hispanic children were not as likely to be enrolled in ECE programs, more recent data from national samples found high rates of Hispanic ECE participation, including among those who are hard to reach. For example, low-income Latino children from immigrant households are as likely to be using center-based care as their Latino peers from non-immigrant households, as well as their low-income white and black peers.

“These reports shed light on the results of work that the federal government, states, and local communities have been doing to increase the supply of ECE programs and to encourage Latino families to enroll their children in those programs,” said Michael López, co-principal investigator and principal associate at Abt Associates.

The studies draw from the National Survey of Early Care and Education, a nationally representative set of surveys that tracks use and availability of ECE programs.

All reports can be found at: http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/resources/publications/

About the Center

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families is a hub of research to help programs and policy better serve low-income Hispanics across three priority areas: poverty reduction and self-sufficiency, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and early care and education. It is comprised of a team of national experts in Hispanic issues, led by Child Trends and Abt Associates along with university partners (University of Maryland, College Park; University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and the Institute for Human Development and Social Change at New York University). The Center was established in 2013 by a 5-year cooperative agreement from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

March 1, 2016

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families just released a new series of briefs for researchers, “Using Existing Large-Scale Data to Study Early Care and Education among Hispanics.”

The four briefs in the series (Project Overview and Methodology, Search and Decision-Making, Families’ Use of Early Care and Education, and How Hispanic Parents and Children Experience ECE Settings), along with two new interactive tools, look at the data we currently have to examine low-income Latino families’ ECE interactions, the strengths and challenges of these data, and potential new research questions that could be answered.

These briefs come at a critical time as, in the U.S., more than one-quarter of all children ages five and younger are Hispanic and more than two- thirds of these kids live in or near poverty. High-quality ECE experiences can promote the healthy development of children and increased public funding greatly expanded ECE enrollment among children from low-income families. Yet many eligible Hispanic children still do not participate in ECE programs, for a variety of reasons.

Secondary analyses of existing large-scale data sets provide a cost-effective and valuable way to contribute to this knowledge base about Latino populations. This series and these tools help to deepen our understanding of multiple aspects of low-income Hispanic families’ lives, including how they care for and educate young children. We hope you will share them with your colleagues, and especially those in the research community who care about the early care and education of Latino children.

December 11, 2015

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families (Center) recently released new findings that show low-income Hispanic households have less earnings variation month-to-month compared with their non-Hispanic counterparts. Yet, the research also shows these households face difficulties accessing certain public assistance programs and that there have been downward shifts in income since the Great Recession.

Join the Center @NRCHispanic as we explore these findings and their implications for policies and programs in a Tuesday, 12/15 Twitter chat at 2pm EST, using #HispanicFamilies. Researchers Lisa Gennetian (@Gen_Pov) and Marta Alvira-Hammond (tweeting from @NRCHispanic) will be there to discuss the research and answer questions.

December 7, 2015

Three research briefs examine the economic circumstances of low-income Latino households.

Contact: Alicia Torres
Communications Director, Child Trends Hispanic Institute
atorres@childtrends.org
(240) 223-9360
Download the press release.

BETHESDA, Md. – The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families (Hispanic Center) today released new findings that show that low-income Hispanic households have less variation in earnings from month-to-month in comparison with non-Hispanic low-income households. Despite few resources, low-income Latinos may face difficulties accessing public assistance programs. The Hispanic Center is led by Child Trends and Abt Associates, in partnership with several universities.

In the first of three briefs, Income Instability in the Lives of Hispanic Children, researchers found that Hispanic children were almost twice as likely as non-Hispanics to live in households with annual incomes of less than $24,000, the lowest income bracket. At the same time, the studies found that Hispanic households in this lowest income bracket were more economically stable than non-Hispanic households. Researchers caution that this greater economic stability may come at a cost.

Income stability among Hispanics appears to be due to more stable monthly earnings rather than to uptake of social assistance programs that aim to stabilize income among poorer households. A household’s earned income stability varies depending on a complex set of factors. These include the number of adult earners employed, the quality of those jobs, and the predictability of their earnings from month-to-month. The greater stability in income observed among low-income Hispanics may be a result of parents’ working long hours or having multiple part-time jobs, which could translate into less time at home with their families.

“On one hand, stable earnings and less reliance on social assistance income may bode well for Latino children, particularly if associated with broader family stability, even if at low overall income,” said Lisa Gennetian, author of these briefs and program head for the Hispanic Center’s Poverty Reduction and Self-Sufficiency research area. “On the other hand, stable chronic poverty is not good for children.” Dr. Gennetian is also associate research scientist at New York University’s Institute for Human Development and Social Change, and a senior researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Previous studies found that the combination of low and unstable incomes may impact family routines, psychological stress, and residential stability, which in turn can lead to negative repercussions for children’s development.

The second brief, How Hispanic Parents Perceive Their Need and Eligibility for Public Assistance, points to previous research that found that Hispanics are less likely than blacks and whites to access some public assistance. For example, research found that in 2009, 27 percent of lower income Hispanic parents received food stamp benefits compared to 43 percent of black parents. The researchers explored parents’ reported reasons for not applying for government assistance and found similar reasons among Hispanic, white and black parents with one important exception: Hispanic parents were more likely to report immigration concerns as a barrier for applying for government assistance programs. The brief notes that 9 percent of naturalized citizens and over a third of legal permanent residents perceived that they were ineligible for government assistance programs because of immigration reasons.

“Our findings signal that immigration concerns have far-reaching consequences and may be hindering families who may be eligible and in need of services from obtaining them,” said Marta Alvira-Hammond, lead author of the brief and senior research analyst at Child Trends. “This new information can help guide programs’ outreach to low-income Hispanics.”

Researchers also noted there is a wider income inequality gap among Hispanic families compared to non-Hispanic families. For example, nearly 30 percent of Hispanic children live in poverty, while about nine percent live in high-income households—a difference of 20 points. Among non-Hispanic children, the difference is just 9 percentage points, as 16 percent of non-Hispanic children live in poverty while about a quarter live in high-income households. Overall, 25 percent of all children in the United States are Hispanic.

The third brief, Low and Stable Income: Comparisons Among Hispanic Children, From 2004 Through the Period Following the Great Recession, suggests that the Great Recession may have presented barriers to economic mobility. The economic circumstances in 2008 to 2011, toward the end of the recession, reduced the income gap between Hispanic children in high- and low-income households. This reduction appears to have come about through downward shifts of Hispanic households from high-to middle-income groups, not through rises in the lowest income group to higher income groups.

With fewer ties to formal and stable employment pre-recession, fewer Latino workers may have had access to unemployment insurance and other sources of emergency income or insurance to lessen the repercussions of wage losses during the recession.

“These briefs provide a deeper understanding of the economic circumstances facing low-income Hispanic families,” explained Lina Guzman, co-director of the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families and a program area director for Child Trends. “This is precisely the type of research needed to inform polices aimed at improving outcomes for the fastest-growing sector of children in the United States—Latino children.”

About the Center: The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families (www.HispanicResearchCenter.org) is a hub of research to improve the lives of low-income Hispanics across three priority areas- poverty reduction and self-sufficiency, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and early care and education. It’s comprised of a team of national experts in Hispanic issues, led by Child Trends and Abt Associates along with university partners (University of Maryland-College Park, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Institute for Human Development and Social Change at New York University). The Center was established in 2013 by a five-year cooperative agreement from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

September 28, 2015

Miami-Dade County programs add to the growing evidence of investing in early child care and education 

Contact:
David L. Allen                                                                        Alicia Torres, Ph.D.
Abt Associates                                                                       Child Trends
david_allen@abtassoc.com                                                  Atorres@childtrends.org
301-347-5144                                                                         240-223-9360

BETHESDA, Md.—September 29, 2015— Low-income Latino children in Miami-Dade County who attended public school pre-K or subsidized center-based child care at age four entered kindergarten scoring above national averages in the areas of pre-academic and social behavioral skills, according to a new report  released today. These benefits were sustained over time as the study found these students continued to perform well through the end of third grade on the state standardized test of reading comprehension and their earned GPAs.

The report was produced by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families (the Center), led by Child Trends and Abt Associates, in partnership with several universities.  The report explores kindergarten readiness of low-income Latino children who participated in publicly subsidized early child care and education programs that were part of the Miami School Readiness Project (MSRP).

“Our report reveals promising new evidence about the potential benefits of early child care and education programs for children from low-income families, particularly Latino children who are dual-language learners,” said Michael López, Ph.D, co-principal investigator at the Center and Principal Associate at Abt Associates.  “This is important to note as educators and policymakers make critical decisions about the shape and future of America’s early care and education system for all children, especially for the large and fast-growing population of Latino children, so that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life.”

Key findings

The findings document several patterns of school readiness and subsequent academic performance among the low-income Latino children in the study sample.

School readiness skills at kindergarten entry:

  • On average, low-income Latino children who attended both public school pre-K and center-based child care in Miami-Dade County entered kindergarten scoring above national averages in the areas of pre-academic and social-behavioral skills.
  • Low-income Latino children who had attended public school pre-K in this community at age four, demonstrated somewhat higher pre-academic and social-behavioral skills at the start of kindergarten then did children who had been in center-based child care.
  • In addition, low-income Latino children classified as dual-language learners who attended public-school pre-K were more proficient in English than were their peers who had attended center-based child care during the prior year.

Academic performance in third grade:

  • On average, low-income Latino children who had attended either type of preschool program in Miami-Dade County fared well on: (a) third-grade tests of reading comprehension, with nine in ten passing the test and (b) their end of year GPAs, earning the grade equivalent of a B.
  • At the same time, on both these educational markers, low-income Latino children who had attended public school pre-K in this community performed somewhat better than children who had attended center-based child care the year before entering kindergarten.

Today, roughly one in four children entering kindergarten in the United States is of Hispanic or Latino origin.  However, preschool enrollment remains relatively low among Latino children; generally, less than half attend some form of pre-school immediately prior to kindergarten entry.

Prior research shows that when Latino children enter school, they tend to lag behind their non-Latino white classmates in areas of early language, literacy, and mathematics. In addition, Latino children often enter school less ready to learn than do their non-Latino white classmates; and this pattern seems to hold true regardless of the level of English fluency in their homes.

“Early child care and education are critical in closing the school readiness gap between young Latino students and their non-Latino white counterparts,” said Arya Ansari, co-author of the report and a recent Center research fellow from the University of Texas, Austin.  “By analyzing academic performance from kindergarten through third grade, we were able to highlight the long-term benefits realized from participation in early child care and education programs at age four.”

“This research validates our work at the Early Learning Coalition, which stands firmly on the premise that investments in high-quality Early Care and Education support the continued success of the children in our community by helping to close the achievement gap”, said Evelio Torres, President and CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami Dade/Monroe.

The data used for the report comes from the MSRP, a large-scale, long-term study originally funded by the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe and The Children’s Trust, that to date has followed 41,339 children from preschool into the Miami-Dade County public school system.  The MSRP included almost the entire population of four-year-olds from low-income families who had applied for (and received) subsidies to attend center-based child care and those attending public school pre-K programs between the 2002 and 2006 school years.

 About the Center

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families (www.HispanicResearchCenter.org) is a hub of research to improve the lives of low-income Hispanics across three priority areas- poverty reduction and self-sufficiency, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood, and early care and education. It’s comprised of a team of national experts in Hispanic issues, led by Child Trends and Abt Associates along with university partners (University of Maryland-College Park, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the Institute for Human Development and Social Change at New York University). The Center was established in 2013 by a five-year cooperative agreement from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

April 8, 2015

Our new guide for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education and Responsible Fatherhood programs serving Hispanic couples and fathers summarizes the various aspects of these programs and facilitates their comparison. Among other key findings, the guide reports that many fatherhood programs that serve Hispanic men are not reflective of Hispanic families’ unique family formation patterns and service needs. Access the guide, as well as individual program profiles.

January 28, 2015

A new look at family structure, living conditions, and adult employment  in low-income households found that the more than five million Hispanic children with families below the poverty line face both potential advantages and challenges compared with their white and black peers. Our research report, The Complex and Varied Households of Low-Income Hispanic Children, notes differences in the characteristics of low-income Hispanic children’s households headed by parents who were born in the United States and those born elsewhere– in some cases providing notable advantages to the children with at least one foreign-born parent. Learn more and access the report.

November 6, 2014

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, led by Child Trends in partnership with Abt Associates, announced its summer research fellowship program for 2015. The goal of this program is to attract, develop, and expand the pool of emerging scholars focused on studying issues concerning low-income and vulnerable Hispanic children and families. This 12-week program is open to advanced Ph.D. students (third year or higher), and will provide selected students with the opportunity to carry out policy-relevant research in an applied setting. Applications are due no later than January 14, 2015. Learn more.

October 16, 2014

Here’s an easy way to get timely research findings related to Hispanic children and families: follow @NRCHispanic, the new Twitter handle of the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families. It also has tools for researchers, and opportunities for emerging scholars in the field.

October 16, 2014

In a new brief, the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families describes the relationship and childbearing histories of low-income Hispanic men and women aged 15 to 44. Among the findings are these: over half of low-income Hispanic women are married or cohabiting by age 20, and low-income Hispanic men are less likely to have children with more than one partner than are low-income white or black men. Also see this blog.

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