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Linking Health and Child Care and Early Education Services
A Key Topic Resource List

Publication Date: April 2007

This Key Topic Resource List on Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) was compiled by Research Connections .

Research Connections conducted a comprehensive search of its collection for resources focused on linking child care and health services. This Key Topic Resource List includes an overview of issues addressed in the literature on health and child care and early education services, as well as a listing of selected resources on the topic.

Based on the search results, resources were grouped into the following three categories:

  • Overview of health services in child care and early education
  • Health care consultants in child care and early education
  • Health services in Head Start/Early Head Start

From the many results, Research Connections selected a limited number of resources of various types- including reports and papers, fact sheets and briefs, summaries, and reviews. Selection criteria included policy relevance and relatively recent publication.

Within each category, resources are organized according to publisher type and publication date. Research Connections one-sentence description is included for each resource on the following list. For complete citations, which include abstracts and full text for some resources, click on the titles.


Good health is an essential foundation for a child’s healthy cognitive, language, and social-emotional development. Linking to health services therefore is an important consideration for early care and education programs interested in creating high quality environments that support children’s healthy development. Early care and education programs, including federal programs such as Head Start and Early Head Start, have become sources for linking families to health care and information through some of the following strategies: providing on-site screenings for developmental delays and other preventative health care services through health care staff or health care consultants; offering parent education on child health and development; offering provider education on health and safety; and acting as an access point for enrolling children in health insurance.

The research on the links between health care and child care includes questions such as the following:

  • What are the patterns of health care utilization and costs associated with different types of child care?
  • Is use of health care and health resources (i.e. vaccines, antibiotics, etc.) more common for children attending child care?
  • Does health care consultation increase child care staff’s knowledge and awareness of child and staff health issues, and does child care center compliance with health standards improve for centers with health consultation interventions?
  • Does participation in early childhood health interventions lead to better outcomes for children such as higher levels of educational attainment, higher incomes, and more positive health behaviors, mental health, and health efficacy during young adulthood?
  • How does Early Head Start impact the health status of children? What is the health status of children in Early Head Start? What are the most frequent health and safety problems? Do Early Head Start children have health insurance and access to care? Are some groups of Early Head Start children at greater risk for health concerns than others?
  • How is the Health Component of Head Start delivered? What methods do Head Start grantees use to provide or obtain health screenings, examinations, immunizations, referrals, and treatment services for enrolled children? What are the range, promptness, and follow-up mechanisms of these health services? What are the major health problems and risk factors for children enrolled in Head Start? What barriers do families face in attempting to access community and State health services? Are there specific cultural factors, such as language, that serve as barriers to health care utilization? What health education efforts are directed towards children and parents?

For more information or additional Key Topic Resource Lists, please go to the Research Connections website.