The goals of ACF’s National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2018 (NRCEC 2018) are to:
The 2018 Conference will present the latest research surrounding child care, Head Start, Early Head Start, home visiting, child welfare, special education, pre-kindergarten, early elementary, and other early childhood programs. Further, the conference welcomes submissions from all relevant fields including education, child development, political science, psychology, sociology, public and allied health, pediatrics, psychiatry, nursing, social work, dentistry, anthropology, law, and economics. Populations of interest include low-income families, as well as populations that may require specialized services, including but not limited to dual language learners, children affected by trauma or homelessness, children from immigrant/migrant families, children in foster care, and children with disabilities.
The Administration for Children and Families aims to support the social and economic well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. This mission is represented across ACF programs serving young children. Collectively, these programs promote economic security, health and safety, and positive developmental trajectories, particularly for vulnerable populations.
There is substantial national, state, and local investment that targets expansion of the capacity of early childhood programs to deliver high quality services and education to young children. This increasing focus on quality improvement is evident in recent federal program regulations and initiatives, including the new Head Start Program Performance Standards, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act reauthorization, the Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Initiative, the Institute of Educational Sciences’ Early Learning Network, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS).
However, many questions remain about how programs can most effectively and efficiently support and fulfill ACF’s mission. Research presented at NRCEC 2018 will address these knowledge gaps across programs serving young children and their caregivers. NRCEC 2018 presents research that builds the evidence base in support of local, state, and federal initiatives.