Assessing the Evaluations of Early Childhood Education Programs

Chapter 4 - Comprehensive Child Development Program (CCDP)
Introduction to the Original Evaluation (Excerpt)

The Comprehensive Child Development Program (CCDP), which operated in twenty-four sites between 1990 and 1995, was a five-year demonstration program created to serve "infants and young children from families who have incomes below the poverty line and who, because of environmental, health, or other factors, need intensive and comprehensive supportive services to enhance their development." The CCDP was designed as a "two-generation" program, based on the assumption that well-coordinated services to both parents and children are important in enhancing the growth and development of young children. As it was essentially a parent-focused program of case-managed services plus parent education, the CCDP might best be considered a parenting education and family case management program rather than an early childhood intervention program.

Robert St. Pierre, Jean Layzer, Barbara Goodson, and Lawrence Bernstein, researchers at Abt Associates, Inc. (the "Abt team"), conducted a random assignment evaluation of the CCDP in twenty-one sites representing many regions of the country and a mix of both urban and rural sites. The randomization took place in 1990 and the families were followed for five years after randomization. The evaluation appears to have been carried out with considerable care, and the program was implemented reasonably well, although the scope and quality of services remains a question. The intervention, which cost about $18,200 per family per year (in 2005 dollars), produced virtually no meaningful effects on a range of outcomes. As a result, it is likely that the programmatic approach tested or services offered are not effective in improving long-term educational, social, and economic outcomes for disadvantaged children.

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