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Mel Gravely

Data Shows Lower Instances of Child Abuse in Families Whose Children Attend Early Head Start

Dad and BabyResearchers from Portland State University and Harvard University uncovered data showing that children who attend Early Head Start were far less likely to be victims of abuse.

The study, published a couple weeks ago in Medical Xpress, poured over 13 years of data involving 1,247 low-income families, half of whom attended Early Head Start and half did not. The researchers analyzed the amount of times that the families were reported to child welfare agencies over the 13 year period. What they found is that families whose children attended Early Head Start were significantly less likely to be reported to the agencies.

The Early Head Start program was established in the mid-90s to serve children ages 0-3. Like with the traditional Head Start program that began in 1965, Early Head Start goes far beyond just educating young children on their ABCs, but instead focuses on the whole child philosophy. That philosophy aims to involve the entire family in the development of the child. The program includes training on topics such as nutrition, stress-reduction, physical health, and mental health.

What this study suggests is that Early Head Start helps families overcome some of the challenges that can lead to child abuse, such as ignorance, stress, and extreme poverty. So when families leave the program, they are set on a positive path for the future that lasts many years.


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