Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School Psychology


The first three years of life are a period where significant growth occurs in all areas of development to prepare infants and toddlers for further learning. Early experiences and relationships impact that early cognitive development. As the literature suggests, the greatest opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and decrease the achievement gap is to intervene early with at risk young children and families. In order to promote resiliency, it is imperative that children have at least one adult who is a consistent and reliable figure in their lives. Early childhood intervention programs serve to empower parents to meet that need.

The literature has identified the challenges and opportunities of working with highly stressed, at-risk families and children and there has been much focus on understanding what increases the chances of highly stressed parents to become engaged and partner in Early Head Start interventions. Research has shown that matching home visitors with families is a significant piece of obtaining and maintaining engagement (engagement of staff members as well as by parents). However, there is a dearth of literature on the process of matching home visitors to families from the perspectives of parents, home visitors, and program leaders.

The goal of this study was to use a socially just process to enhance collaboration practices at an Early Head Start program. This study was intended to explore those perspectives in order to guide better practices with building and maintaining effective working relationships to carry out Early Head Start interventions. A key area of interest was in learning from the insights of parents, home visitors, and program leaders to assess what maintains engagement as well as what disrupts engagement for EHS parents and home visitors. The investigation was informed by carrying out semi-structured individual interviews with family members, home visitors, and program leaders at an Early Head Start program.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.