How Does Head Start Recruit and
Retain Families Experiencing Adversities?
April 26, 2023
5:00 - 6:30 PM ET
In-person and Virtual
This lecture will focus on outreach and engagement needs in early care and education settings and specifically within Head Start. It will highlight learnings from a recent literature synthesis conducted on the factors that shape recruitment, selection, enrollment, and retention for Head Start eligible families and for families experiencing adversities, and also the practices that might be most promising in those same areas. Adversities of focus will include families experiencing poverty, those experiencing homelessness, those in the foster care or child welfare system, and those affected by substance use. The lecture will emphasize the practice, policy, and research implications of the findings.
“Dr. Nikki Aikens will be our first Richman Scholar-in-Residence during April of 2023. This position is funded through the Alison L. Richman Professorship for Children, Youth, and Families. Ms. Richman, MSW ’84 worked as an adoption specialist and served over a decade on the School’s Board of Advisors. Together with her family, they have created funds at the School to support innovation, student scholarships, and this Professorship.”
Instructor: Nikki Aikens, PhD
Nikki Aikens, a principal researcher at Mathematica, is an expert in early care and education (ECE) programs focused on young children and their families. She specializes in descriptive and evaluation studies in ECE settings, and has informed decisions regarding instrumentation, analysis, and reporting for national and local studies of Head Start, Early Head Start, and other child care settings. Her work also includes evaluations of place-based initiatives and studies focused on supports for systems change. She is interested in advancing equity in access, services, and outcomes in ECE programs, especially for children of color, dual language learners, and children from households experiencing poverty. Aikens, who joined Mathematica in 2006, holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.