Friday, 14 January 2005 - 10:00 AM
This presentation is part of: Early Intervention in Children
Who Benefits Most From Participation in Early Childhood Intervention? Targeting Social and Emotional Development in the Chicago Longitudinal StudyMichael D. Niles, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work/Waisman Center.
Evaluations of prevention programs have advanced beyond a sole reliance on average program effects to increased attention to the heterogeneity of impact estimates. Evidence about who benefits most from participation can help program administrators target scarce resources more efficiently and improve the effectiveness of services for participants. In this study, I examine whether the effects of participation in the Chicago Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program are moderated by demographic and program attributes. Three questions are addressed: (1) Do the effects of CPC participation vary by sex of child, family risk status, parent education, and family structure? (2) Do estimated effects vary by program length in the preschool and school-age components, location (wing or separate center), and curricular focus of the program? (3) Does the impact of participation vary by neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage? The outcomes were indicators of social and emotional development from ages 7 to age 15, official juvenile arrests by age 18, and the school competence indicators of special education placement and grade retention. Sample and Methods: Data come from the Chicago Longitudinal Study, a prospective investigation of the effects of the CPC program for 1,539 low-income children born in 1980. The program provides comprehensive services to children from ages 3 to 9. The data utilized in the present study are from a sample of 1,378 primarily African American youth who attended a Chicago public high school and had identifiable social and emotional competency indicators by age 15 (Niles et. al, 2003). An alternative-program, quasi-experimental design was used in which the performance of the entire cohort of 989 children in the 20 CPCs in 1985-86 was compared to a random sample of 550 eligible children who participated in another government-funded early intervention in the Chicago schools. Sample recovery rates were, respectively, 84% and 81% with no evidence of selective attrition. The main sources of data for analysis were school administrative records, youth reports, and Census information. Interaction terms between program participation and the hypothesized moderators were entered individually after the respective main-effect terms and the covariates of race/ethnicity, gender, program sites, and risk status. Results: Using probit regression analysis, 200 coefficients of statistical interaction were estimated. After controlling for the influence of covariates, only 30 program by subgroup characteristics were statistically significant at the .05 level. Boys, children from the highest poverty neighborhoods, and children with more extensive intervention experienced greater social and emotional benefits from preschool participation than other children. These findings maybe useful for targeting already limited intervention resources more efficiently such as greater investments in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. The pathways of program effects on these outcomes need to be explored.
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