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Developmental and contextual transitions of children and families

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Head Start's 5th National Research Conference.


Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Presented by
The Administration on Children, Youth and Families
The Administration for Children and Families
in collaboration with
Center for Population and Family Health at the Joseph L. Maltman School of Public Health, Columbia University
The Society for Research in Child Development

The year 2000 marks Head Start's 35th year of promoting the growth and development of economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse children. We celebrate the achievements of these children, their families, and staff. Intervention/prevention initiatives need to accommodate individual developmental needs. In doing so, we promote positive development, focusing on strengths rather than problems or deficiencies.

The central theme of the conference focuses on the continuities and transitions of early development and the contexts in which they occur. The goal is to examine the developmental and contextual transitions affecting the health and well-being of young children (i.e., from prenatal care to middle childhood). Developmental transitions include brain development embedded within the typical stages of child development and education. Contextual transitions refer to the progression and passage of children through the institutions that serve them and their families. The degree of continuity within and between the developmental and contextual transitions is the focus of this conference.

Of special interest is research that represents ethnic and cultural diversity, studies children and families in their social/cultural context, draws upon perspectives gained from historical research, emphasizes strengths and adaptive functioning, uses qualitative as well as quantitative methods, and exemplifies collaborations among disciplines and professions.

Topics of special interest include:

-biobehavioral approaches to development (the role of brain and central nervous system)
-child and family strengths and resiliency
-children with disabilities
-continuity and discontinuity (developmental, linguistic, cultural, institutional)
-early education and care (quality and standards, universal prekindergarten)
-family literacy (interactive literacy, parent training, impact on economic self-sufficiency, age-appropriate education)
-family structure and transitions (single parenthood, fatherhood, self-sufficiency, fragile families)
-information technology (computer literacy, video game usage, media)
-mental health (mental health promotion, diagnosis, treatment models)
-neighborhood and community influences (resources, services, racial and class composition, violence and safety)
-physical health (maternal health, prenatal care, special health needs, nutrition, dental care)
-program-initiated research partnerships
-research methods (ethnography, evaluation methods, measures, instrument development, action research)
-social policy changes (welfare reform, devolution, health systems, managed care)
-staff development models based on research/evaluation
-substance use and abuse (impact on fetus, early brain development, adolescents, family processes, program services)
-very early development (conception to early childhood)

Contact name: 
Bethany Chirico, Conference and Events Manager
Contact email:
Contact phone: 
(703) 821-3090, ext. 233
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