This mixed method, in-depth case study in Colorado examines the degree to which key players in the child welfare, early intervention/preschool special education (EI/Preschool SPED) and early care and education (ECE) systems (e.g. Head Start, preschool, child care centers, family child care homes) collaborate to meet the developmental needs of children ages 0-5 who are involved in the child welfare system. The ecological perspective described by Bronfenbrenner (1979) serves as the conceptual framework to support the goals of the project and to guide the development of this study.
This research includes a quantitative analysis of data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (NSCAW, a nationally representative sample of children involved in the child welfare system). Additional quantitative research was conducted through two surveys (optional paper or on-line survey) in Colorado between 2005-2006: the Foster Parent Survey, a statewide survey of foster parents drawn from public and private agency lists of licensed families, and the Child Welfare Caseworker Survey, a statewide survey of child welfare caseworkers and caseworker supervisors drawn from public and private agency lists. The qualitative component of this research was conducted through field study interviews, with professionals (Child Welfare, Early Intervention, and Early Care and Education) and foster and biological parents of children under 5 in the child welfare system. These interviews were conducted in Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Conejos, and El Paso counties.
The study utilized a convenience sample based on the counties and agencies that responded to the study's request.