University of Pittsburgh
April 17, 2002

Pitt's Office of Child Development to Provide Research Information to New Early Child and Education Task Force


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

April 17, 2002

PITTSBURGH The University of Pittsburgh's Office of Child Development (OCD) will be providing evidence-based research on the state's childhood care and education delivery system to Pennsylvania's new Early Care and Education Task Force, created today by Gov. Mark Schweiker.

Pitt's OCD, Penn State's College of Health and Human Development, and Temple University's Center for Public Policy have formed a University Children's Policy Collaborative, which will examine existing and potential programs and services for children from birth to age 8 and then make recommendations to the 33-member task force.

Each university will explore a different component: The Penn State research team will observe activity at 400 early childhood sites, Temple University will conduct a survey of Pennsylvania parents who are consumers of early childhood services, and Pitt's OCD research will be three-pronged a review of national research literature to assess best practices; a statewide survey of providers of early childhood services; and a survey of organizations, colleges, and universities that train professionals in early childhood services.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the universities to work together and to provide the state with balanced, nonpartisan information on early childhood services," said Robert McCall, who, along with Christine Groark, is co-director of OCD. Other OCD personnel assisting with the project are Robert Nelkin, director of policy initiatives; Wendy Ethridge, project manager for policy initiatives; and Pitt graduate student Kelly Mehaffie.

The task force will issue two reports to Schweiker this fall that will contain evidence-based, cost-effective strategies that can be passed on to the next administration. "From preschools to Head Starts to home-based care, this new task force will determine how to help improve the places where our children are getting their educational start," Schweiker said earlier today.

For additional information, contact the deputy press secretary for the Office of the Governor, Dave Hixson, at (717/783-1116). McCall (412/624-5527) and Groark (412/624-7429) will be available for interviews upon their return from Harrisburg tomorrow.