The aim of this ethnographic study/interpretative study was to understand the experience of the AVANCE program for participants at three culturally distinct

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1 An Investigation of the AVANCE Parent Child Education Program for diverse cultures. Milagros Nores, Beth Rubin and Alexandra Figueras-Daniel 1 National Institute for Early Childhood Research May 2013 Introduction The aim of this ethnographic study/interpretative study was to understand the experience of the AVANCE program for participants at three culturally distinct sites. The AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program is delivered in a weekly session with parents throughout a nine-month period. Given the program™s two-generation focus, it provides child development for children below the age of th ree and transportation to support parents™ attendance. The main components of the pr ogram are the parental education classes, a toy making session, third hour speakers, the home visitation and a child development component. Participants refe r to all individuals involved in the delivery process of the program and all recipients of the AVANCE inte rvention. Similarly, ficulturally distinctfl is generally defined as serving ethnically distinct groups in varied geographic locations. This study involved interviews to program staff and to a convenience sample of parents, as well as participant observations of the program components. The study focused on the following set and subsets of research questions: 1. How do participants experience AVANCE at three culturally distinct sites? a. How do AVANCE participants describe their experience and participate in the program? b. How does AVANCE match or diverge from the participants™ needs? 2. How is AVANCE enacted at the three sites? a. How do the various components of the program function? b. How does program staff understand th e needs of their participants? c. How does program staff draw upon a nd/or innovate from the AVANCE model? d. How does staff understanding of their role shape program enactment? 3. How are experiences similar or different among the three sites? 1 This report analyzes data based on the collaborative field work done by the authors together with Judith Alexandre, Amy Bergstrom and Alexandra Figueras-Daniel. All correspondence about this work should be addressed to Milagros Nores at the following email address:

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2 Methodology To investigate the answers to these questions , we carried forward a formative evaluation to describe the experience of the program delivery of AVANCE and whether culture had implications on program delivery, on adaptations made to the model, if any, and how the model was enacted in three culturally distinct sites. Sites were chosen based on those potentially serving a predominantly Afri can American community, a predominantly Native American community, and a predomin antly Hispanic, Non-Mexican community. From October 2011to June 2012, the Newark (NJ), Brooklyn (NY), and Cloquet (MN) sites were the focus of in-depth ethnographic activities. One field ethnographer trained in ethnographic research methods and knowle dgeable about the culture in each site conducted fieldwork with direct involvement of the principal investigator. The various methods of data collection allow for triangula tion of information, as well as ensure that we are able to grasp the perspectives of those who deliver the program as well as those who attend the program. 1. Families and the goodness of fit of AVANCE for new cultures: Family Case Studies: Three families were sel ected on site for in-depth case studies. A purposive selection process was used to include families that represented different types of participants. This was done to ensure that we collected information on how the program played out for various types of par ticipants. For example, age of child and parent, marital status and education levels were all relevant factors to consider, and in the case in which there were male s attending the program, these were included. The ethnographer conducted interviews of approximately one hour with families in the case study at the beginning and the end of the program year. She also conducted a visit to the home with the home educator to better understa nd the families and their context. These visits also focused on observing parent-child interactions and the role of the home educator. These were meant to complement the observations that took place during the classroom-based components and the interviews to selected families and to staff. At the end of the program year, all families in the program were given children™s books to thank them for their participation and coope ration with the research team. Background Information: The research team also reviewed information on family backgrounds collected by the sites through short AVANCE questionnaires responded by all participants. This information was collected by the sites themselves through intake forms. 2. Perceptions of program staff on the AVANCE program and on goodness of fit with the culture and/or needs of the families. Participant observations: Ethnographers participated in the program sessions 2 alongside the parents throughout the 9 months of the program. Each of these weeks, they 2 Three hours per week, 12 weeks in Cloquet, 17 weeks in Newark and 20 weeks in Brooklyn. The variation has to do with sites running one or more than one class, or starting late.

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3 conducted participant observations throughout the three-hour sessions for one of the groups to which the program was delivered. Through observations they developed their own perceptions on participants, staff and the program. These ethnographers observed adaptations, questions, discussions, participation, attendance and issues that arose. The sessions were observed including all three components (parent educator, toy making, and third-hour speaker). Staff Interviews: The ethnographer conducted structured surveys of approximately one hour at the beginning and end of the program to all program staff to obtain information about staff views of the program, its implem entation, participants, children, challenges, responsibilities, training experiences and suggestions for modificati ons. In addition, the researcher used informal conversations with staff members throughout the year to determine the program staff members™ percep tions of the program and of the target families™ participation. Data Set The team collected a total of 188 observati ons and interviews throughout the program year for all 3 sites. All interviews were recorded, with the permission of either the parent or the program staff being interviewed. All interviews were carried out following very detailed protocols developed in advance by the research team and approved by an independent ethics committee. Afterwards , these interviews were transcribed, by a professional team of transcribers, into word documents. Both the research team and the transcription team were careful in protecting identifiable information. The field team also created memos following protocols designed for the observations, which documented the sessions. Figure 1 shows th e type of documents collected by the team by source of information. Both interviews as well as participant observations were equally relevant in the fieldwork, and information for this report is drawn from both these sources. In addition to these two sources of information, ethnographers were encouraged to write reflections on their observations and interviews throughout the year, which were also used as a source of information.

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4 Given the research questions outlined for the project, a series of codes were generated to analyze documentation. We looked at the documents using different families of codes that were a combination of ‚a priori™ c odes (developed beforehand with the research questions and methods in mind) and inductive codes (that emerged as we analyzed the data): Staff views of the program, Staff views of parents, Staff actions; Parents™ views of the program/staff; Parents™ actions, Parents™ expressed needs; Identity; Curriculum and Environment. Each of these included a gr oup of sub-codes that attempted to identify what components parents liked and did not li ke, their perceptions on different aspects of the program, their perceptions on what the pr ogram gave them, their needs and how the program served these, staff™s perceptions of the program and the parents, staff perceptions of the different components, the ty pe of interactions occurring between staff and parents and among parents, and when/if cultur e, identity or race played some type of role (e.g. cultural references, specific acts, discussions, issues, language), among other things (e.g. staff actions, parents actions, aspects related to curriculum, environment). This document is organized as follows. We first provide a description of the parents and staff in the program. Then we describe th e main components of the program in terms of key aspects and staff roles. Lastly, we describe in depth the findings in terms of the research questions outlined above. Identifiable information for individuals (names and locations) is kept confidential in line with ethical standards for the research approach reported in this report. Location is reported only when this would not easily allow readers to relate the information to the person who was interviewed or observed. Participants™ characteristics across sites Information from this section is based on the AVANCE intakes that were provided to all participants (in the sessions we focused as well as in additional sessions) at the beginning of the program. Documents byData Type Interview ObservationReflection

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5 Table 1 and Table 2 present selected participant characteristics. On average, participants (mostly mothers, with few exceptions) were 30 y ears of age with only slight variations in age across sites. All sites had parents pre dominantly in their 20s and their 30s (ranging from 20 to 52). Young or teenage mothers were not enrolled in the program. In addition, mothers in both Brooklyn and Newark reported having lived in the U.S. a significant amount of years, with an average of 18 and 10 years respectively. This is not applicable for Cloquet parents. It appears th at the program is serv ing parents that have not immigrated recently. While mothers re port having had on average almost 24 years of age at the time of their first birth, there is significant variation across parents. That is, mothers with births in the teenage years as we ll as mothers with births in their late 20s were part of this cohort. Reported average annual family income is around $19,000 per year, with Newark parents reporting slight ly higher income levels, Brooklyn parents reporting slightly lower income levels, and Cloquet parents reporting almost half this amount. Table 1. Participant aver age characteristics. Participant Characteristics All Brooklyn Cloquet Newark Mean/SD Mean N Mean N Mean N Age 30.430.02527.2313 32.030(6.5)(6.4) (7.2) (6.0) If not born in U.S.-number of years lived in U.S. 11.018.525- 10.430(6.1)(2.1) – (5.9) Age when first child was born 23.625.02520.713 23.630(5.7)(6.6) (2.5) (5.4) Annual family income 18,87218,1572510,77513 22,04730(11,951)(11,393) (6,010) (12,749) Male participants are the exception to the rule, a few of them in the Brooklyn and Newark sites, but none at all in the Cloquet site. The sites were selected based on these serving an African American community, a Native American community and a Hispanic non-Mexican community. Race/ethnicity distri butions reflect what was expected when the sites where chosen. Brooklyn largely served African Americans (80 percent). Cloquet mostly served Native Americans or Am erican Indians (42 percent) and a similar portion of parents self-identifying themselves as White Non-Hispanic. Newark served only Hispanics, with the largest portion, 50 percent, being from Ecuador. The second most widely served group were Mexican (10 percent) and equal numbers from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru and Puerto Rico. In terms of marital status, there was a higher concentration of single mothers in the Newark and Cloquet sites, and a higher proportion of married mothers in the Br ooklyn site. Lastly, the program served a large proportion of women with small childr en (62 children), rather than pregnant women. Of the children in the program, pa rents reported that 43 percent were U.S.-born, 6 percent were born in Latin America, and interestingly for the rest of the children, parents did not report birthplace.

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6 Table 2. Distribution of part icipants by age, race, primar y language, marital status and pregnancy. Participant Characteristics Total Brooklyn Cloquet Newark Gender N 672512 30Male 3.0%4.0%- 3.3%Female 97.0%96.0%100.0% 96.7%Ethnicity / Race N 672512 30White Non-Hispanic 7.5%-41.7% -Hispanic 49.3%8.0%8.3% 100.0%Black/African-American 29.8%80.0%- -Asian — -Native American 9.0%4.0%41.7% -Other 4.5%8.0%8.3% -Primary language N 652512 28Spanish 36.9%4.0%- 82.1%English 50.8%84.0%100.0% -Both 9.2%4.0%- 17.9%English/ Haitian Creole 1.5%4.0%- -Marital Status N 682612 30Single 37.6%60.0%41.7% 16.7%Married 35.7%28.0%8.3% 53.3%Divorced — -Separated 7.4%4.0%8.3% 10.0%Widowed — -Living with partner 19.2%8.0%41.7% 20.0%Pregnancy Status N 672512 30Yes 6.0%8.0%- 6.7%No 92.5%88.0%100.0% 93.3%n/a 1.5%4.0%- – Table 3 shows aspects of language for the individuals in the program. Language proportions map race and ethnicity distributi ons closely, with higher proportions of Spanish speakers in Newark and higher proportions of English speakers in the other two sites. Similarly, Newark experiences a higher ratio of individuals with lower abilities to understand, speak and/or write English and the inverse is true for Spanish. This is likely because 93 percent of Newark parents were not born in the U.S., half do not have more than a High School degree and half received their education outside of the U.S. (described below).

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8 Educational attainment (highest level of education complete d) varied across sites. Brooklyn evidences a somewhat balanced di stribution with similar proportions of individuals having less than high school (24 percent) or completed high school (also 24 percent), a slightly higher proportion of individuals with some college or technical education (30 percent) and a slightly lower proportion of individuals having completed college (20 percent). Cloquet™s parents repo rted higher levels of education with none having less than a high school degree, 25 percent having completed high school, 42 percent having some college or technical education, and 33 percent having completed college. Newark parents reported the highest proportion of individuals without a high school degree (37 percent). Parents in Newark were also much less likely to have completed college (3 percent), with 77 percent of parents with a college degree or higher having acquired this degree outside of the U.S., and with all parents with a high school or lower degree having also done so. Table 4. Educational background. Education Total Brooklyn Cloquet Newark Location education was received N 672512 30United States 52.2%80.0%100.0% 10.0%Mexico 4.5%– 10.0%Outside of the U.S. 43.3%20.0%0.0% 80.0%Highest level of education N 672512 30Less than High School 25.4%24.0%- 36.7%High School 22.4%24.0%25.0% 20.0%Some College or Technical 37.3%32.0%41.7% 40.0%College 14.9%20.0%33.3% 3.3% In addition to education, parents were asked about their employment status and occupation (Table 5). Brooklyn parents re ported higher rates of unemployment (21.7 percent) than parents in other sites (17 percent in Cloquet and 10 percent in Newark) and lower rates of full-time employment. Newa rk parents show indicators of higher job insecurity (which could be related to an immi gration status). On the other hand, Cloquet households seem largely dependent on the mo ther™s employment, without support from a partner or spouse and correspondingly more lik ely to use WIC (42 percent); although this could have been mostly for formula (we do not have information on how they used the benefits). Across all three sites though, parents reported high levels of government support through WIC, food stamps or both.

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9 Table 5. Employment and Occupation. Employment Total Brooklyn Cloquet Newark Participant occupation N 652312 30Full-time 20.0%13.0%41.7% 16.7%Part-time or seasonal 16.9%4.3%16.7% 26.7%Job training program 1.5%4.3%- -Enrolled in school /education 1.5%4.3%- -Retired or disabled — -Seeking employment 15.4%21.7%16.7% 10.0%Stay-at-home parent 32.3%34.8%8.3% 40.0%Various or other 12.3%17.30%16.60% 6.60%Person providing main source of income N 652312 30Self 36.9%47.8%75.0% 13.3%Partner 52.3%39.1%8.3% 80.0%Family member 7.6%13.0%8.3% -Other 3.1%-8.3% 3.3%Source of main income N 602111 28Wages from a job 55.0%57.1%54.5% 53.6%Alimony or child support 1.7%– 3.6%Government assistance (TANF, general support) 15.0%14.3%27.3% 10.7%Social security 1.7%4.8%- -Wages, alimony/child support, government aid 1.7%– 3.6%Other-partner 8.3%– 17.9%Wages, alimony 5.0%– 10.7%Unemployment 3.3%9.5%- -Various/other 8.3%16.4%18.2% -Received family benefits N 642412 28Food Stamps & WIC 59.4%54.2%50.0% 67.9%Food Stamps 9.4%25.0%- -WIC 23.4%20.8%41.7% 17.9%None 7.8%.0%8.3% 14.3% Parents were also asked about medical insuran ce in the household (Table 6). Consistent with previous indicators on place of birth, mo st Newark parents reported being uninsured (72 percent) while all of Cloquet parents and 80 percent of Brooklyn parents reported being insured. This does not necessarily translate to children having medical insurance since most parents have access to Medicaid.

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10 Table 6. Insurance. Employment Total Brooklyn Cloquet Newark Medical insurance N 662512 29Yes 60.6%80.0%100.0% 27.6%No 39.4%20.0%- 72.4%Do children have medical insurance N 632212 29Yes 98.4%100.0%91.7% 100.0%No 1.6%-8.3% -If yes what type of insurance N 602011 29Private insurance 15.0%10.0%27.3% 13.8%CHIPS — -Medicaid 80.0%90.0%45.5% 86.2%Other 5.0%-27.3% – Staff Demographics Staff at the centers closely resembled parent al composition. Staff characteristics for all three sites together are presented in Table 7. All staff in Newark being of Hispanic ethnicity and speaking Spanish whether as a first or second language. Brooklyn staff was a mix of White and Black ethnicity with one member of the staff speaking French and Creole, and staff in Cloquet were either White or of a White and Native American ethnicity. Age, experience and education of the staff varied significantly within and across sites. Table 7. Staff composition. Staff Characteristics Mean (Range if applicable) Females 97% Years Experience 9 (0-21) Age 43 (22-60) Ethnicity: Hispanic 33% White 33% Black 20% White/American Indian 13% Languages: French/Creole 7% Spanish 33% English 60% Education: AA 27% CDA 7% BA 47% MA/MBA or in process 20%

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11 Organization of the AVANCE experience Child Development Component The child development section of the AVANC E Parent Child Education Program has the main responsibility of engaging children ages 0-3 in developmentally appropriate activities while parents attend the three-hour parent education course once per week. During the time that children attend, they are fed a snack and a lunch as well. The role of the child development staff is to deve lop lesson plans and execute them with the children each week. Children attend this portion of the program in classrooms that are assembled with child-sized furniture and appr opriate materials, toys and books for their age groups. Staff serving in these positions remain consistent across the week, serving various groups of children on the day when their parents attend their respective sessions. Child development workers also share info rmation with parents about their child™s development. Toy-Making Component The toy-making component is the first hour of the three-hour parent education block and one of the unique aspects of the program. The purpose of the toy-making component is two-fold. The first is to allow parents to spend relaxed, unstructured time to build relationships with each other in a casual fashion. The second purpose is to allow parents the opportunities to gain a se nse of completion around a project each week. This latter purpose is felt to be crucial as for many of the at-risk parents in the program, seeing a project through to the end is a major goal of the program at la rge. The toy-instructor™s role is to introduce the parents to the toys each week and to give instructions and materials to complete them. They also o ffer support to parents when needed. At the end of each session, the toy instructor hands out a fipossibility sheetfl which is an instructional sheet that illustrates all the ways in which the toy that they have created can help them encourage various skill developm ents while playing with their children. These possibility sheets lend the ideas that are later observed during home visits by the home educators. Parent Education Component The parent education component is the second hour of the three-hour block, which parents attend each week. During this hour , the parents are given a lesson on topics related to children and childrearing. Topics are presented in units with various weeks linking together. Units include topics such as health and safety, hygiene, discipline, development of cognitive skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, etc. The goal of the topics is to shed light on practices that help to maximize parent/child interactions in developmentally appropriate ways that reflect current research and methods. The parent education leader, or parent educator, delivers this compone nt, by way of the power point slides designed by AVANCE. Their responsibility is to deliver the lessons, but also to be attentive to parent™s individual needs as topics are presented. In many cases, the parent educator may have been parents who previously attended the program themselves. The parent educator must remain sensitive to the needs of families while delivering the messages for each week.

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