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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Early Childhood Partnerships Receives Grants to Study Success of Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Programs for At-Risk Preschoolers

Early Childhood Partnerships (ECP), a Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh collaboration, has received two, four-year collaborative program evaluation research grants totaling $1.2 million to document early childhood intervention outcomes across Pennsylvania.

ECP, led by Stephen J. Bagnato, EdD, has received a $1 million grant from The Heinz Endowments, as well as a $200,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development, Departments of Public Welfare and Education. The grants support longitudinal research on the impact and benefits of the state's pre-kindergarten initiatives and early intervention programs and services on children's progress and success.

The grants support two integrated research initiatives: the Pennsylvania Pre-Kindergarten Analysis (PAPREKA) will evaluate the state's pre-kindergarten programs for children at risk for school failure; and the Pennsylvania Early Intervention Outcomes Study (PEIOS) will evaluate programs in all Pennsylvania counties that provide services for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with developmental delays and disabilities.

"We expect the partnerships across the state that emerge between school districts and community-based early care and education programs will be unique and creative and will show benefits for kids in their early school success," said Dr. Bagnato, ECP director at Children's and a professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. ECP is a collaboration between Children's and The University Community Leaders and Individuals with Disabilities (UCLID) Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

PAPREKA will evaluate Pennsylvania's new pre-kindergarten initiative, the Partnership for Quality Pre-Kindergarten, launched in 27 school districts across the state this year. The evaluation research will examine the interrelationships among the type of partnerships developed and the progress of children in acquiring skills necessary for early school success.

PEIOS will evaluate the benefits of already-existing early intervention programs to enable Pennsylvania to comply with newly designed federal accountability regulations. PEIOS will examine the interrelationships among the intensity of the programs and services and the progress of preschoolers with developmental disabilities and their families.

A previous privately funded venture known as the Early Childhood Initiative had a high level of success, according to research by Dr. Bagnato and his team. In a study of 2,000 children from the poorest school districts in Pittsburgh, historically, 25 percent of children were held back in kindergarten and 21 percent were placed in special education classes in kindergarten or first grade. Following participation in the Early Childhood Initiative - also funded by Heinz - less than 3 percent of children in those districts were held back and less than 1 percent were placed in special education classes.

The Heinz Endowments supports efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work, a center of learning and educational excellence, and a home to diversity and inclusion. Committed to helping its region thrive as a whole community - economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally - the foundation works within Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the nation to develop solutions to challenges that are national and even international in scope. One of the largest and most innovative philanthropic foundations in the country, the Endowments awarded more than $53 million in grants in 2004.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 18, 2008
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Last Update
February 18, 2008