David B. Muhlhausen, Heritage Foundation, August 6, 2015
In search of evidence that Head Start can be an effective program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiated the Head Start CARES demonstration project. The Head Start CARES demonstration project tested three “evidence-based” social-emotional interventions to determine whether these interventions help disadvantaged children to develop appropriate social-emotional behaviors. The answer was no. Experimental evaluations released in 2014 and 2015 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that enhanced Head Start CARES demonstration programs had little to no effect, compared with regular Head Start services, on the social-emotional and academic skills of participating children.
[Editor’s Note: The full paper is available here.]