Community Action Project of Tulsa (CAP) Family Life Study Extension: Evaluation of a Model Dual-Generation Program

Project: Research project

Project Details


Two-generation programs that target parents and children together represent a promising and innovative strategy to improve the education level of parents, increase financial stability, and promote family wellbeing. These programs are gaining momentum across the U.S. by intentionally and strategically linking intensive, high-quality education, job training, and career-building programs for low-income parents simultaneously with early childhood education for their young children. The idea that the needs of vulnerable parents and children can be addressed together is not new. In fact, the Foundation for Child Development coined the term, “Two-Generation Programs,” in the 1990s and produced an edited volume on the topic. Yet, since then, very little evidence has accrued on the impact of two-generation programs that explicitly advance parents human capital within the context of early childhood education programs. The proposed project would expand an ongoing study of one of the only fully-operational, two-generation human capital programs in the country, CareerAdvance®, to advance the evidence base regarding the effectiveness of two-generation programs. CareerAdvance® is administered by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP Tulsa), and combines Head Start services for low-income children with education and stackable training in the healthcare sector for parents. The program also provides key support services, including peer supports, incentives for performance, and career coaching. Given the foundation’s 25-year history of leadership regarding dual-generation programs, FCD’s participation would be an enormous confirmation of the importance of this work. We have designed an ambitious quasi-experimental, mixed-methods study of CareerAdvance®, the CAP Family Life Study, to examine the short-term and longer-term effects of the program on family, parent, and child outcomes. We employ a state-of-the-art econometric method, propensity score matching, to identify a matched-comparison group that resembles CareerAdvance® participants who are virtually similar on all observable characteristics and behaviors except for the fact that one parent is enrolled in CareerAdvance® and one is not. The ideal goal of the CAP Family Life Study is to conduct four waves of data collection (including parent surveys, teacher survey and child assessments), baseline through Year 3 for all program participants and the matched-comparison group for CareerAdvance® Cohorts 4-10. We have already secured funding from the Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG), Health Profession Opportunity Grant-University Partnership (HPOG-UP), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to assess about half of the cohorts through Wave 3 and most cohorts through Wave 2. Funding from the Foundation for Child Development would provide critical support to ensure that we have 4 waves of data collection for over half the sample, and 2 and 3 waves of data collection for almost the entire sample. Thus, this funding would promote our ability to answer questions on the longer-term effects of CareerAdvance® by giving participants more time to obtain new certificates, and potentially enter the workforce with higher earnings. By the end of the proposed study, we will have a large enough sample to assess both the short and longer-term outcomes on parents and children. Northwestern University has already established a strong research-to-practice relationship with CAP Tulsa and has been collaborating with them since 2008. The funding from FCD will support
Effective start/end date9/1/149/30/19


  • Foundation for Child Development (agmt 09/12/2014)


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