KIDS NOW Evaluation: Executive Summary
This interim report presents 2002-2003 evaluation data for the KIDS NOW Initiative in Kentucky. Data indicate that center-based child care programs in Kentucky are improving in quality. Preschool centers that are more familiar with STARS for KIDS NOW and have more educated teachers tend to have higher quality classrooms. Enhanced efforts to promote the KIDS NOW Initiative have increased familiarity with the program. Urban and rural differences exist in the way child care providers participate in and perceive the benefits of the Initiative. Rural staff rated the program more favorably than urban staff on several dimensions (i.e., Scholarship, STARS for KIDS NOW, Healthy Start, Subsidy, and Licensing). Urban parents were more likely to report that needed care was unavailable and more expensive. The evaluation team made the following recommendations for the continued success of the Initiative: (1) encourage individuals and centers who have accomplished records with the programs to speak to others on how each manages their time, implements the programs, and helps provide resources to parents; (2) ensure targeted training and technical assistance to programs serving high numbers of children on subsidy and to infant/toddler programs serving children with disabilities; (3) ensure that programs serving high numbers of children on subsidy have access to early childhood mental health providers to avoid potential turnover of staff; (4) provide training on working effectively with families faced by poverty, discrimination, and other stressors; (5) increase the number of licensing professionals to ensure a 1:50 ratio; (6) standardize data collection on key variables across the State; and (7) remedy barriers that prevent participation in the KIDS NOW Initiative. Appendices include: (1) Archival Data Collection Instrument, (2) Director's Interview Instrument, (3) Teacher Survey Instrument, (4) Staff Survey Instrument, (5) Family Survey Instrument, and (6) mean scores and critical values of selected analysis.