Welcome to the
Applied Research on Children (ARC) Lab
at the University of Connecticut!
The Applied Research on Children (ARC) Lab aims to better understand and promote the development and well-being of young children (ages 0-5 years) and their families. Specifically, our research centers on children’s early environments, and the role of programs and policies in supporting children and families. These include Early Head Start, Head Start, Educare, and home visiting programs. With primary and secondary data collection and analysis, we investigate individual differences in children’s development and families’ well-being with the goal of informing practice and policy.
For more details on our current research projects, visit the Projects page.
For direct access to the lab's publications, visit the Dissemination page.
To learn about who's involved with the ARC Lab, visit Our Team page.
To learn about the undergraduate early childhood specialization program, visit the Program page on the Department website.
Dr. Rachel Chazan Cohen
|348 Mansfield Rd U1058 Storrs, CT, 06269
What We’ve Been Up To
Caitlin, Kevin, and Rachel received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation for the dissemination phase of their project, "Addressing Inequities for Immigrant Families”. This $115,000 grant is supporting community engagement and dissemination of research findings over 1.5 years. Vanessa and Anne are supporting the data collection, data analysis, and dissemination of the project findings.
In her role as Co-Chair of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)’s Science & Social Policy committee, Caitlin, co-Chair Sara Vecchiotti of the Couch Family Foundation, and SRCD’s Director of Policy responded to and submitted comments on behalf of SRCD members on the proposed rules to the Head Start program.
Rachel, colleague Sarah Crowne from Child Trends, and Rong presented at a symposium at the National Home Visiting Summit at the end of January in Washington DC. The topic is about home visiting supervision and well-being: A further analysis of the First 5 California Home Visiting Study.
In our December ARC meeting, we welcome long-time collaborator and new faculty affiliate Dr. Kevin Ferreira van Leer and discussed ARC lab member updates and spring semester goals.
Vanessa and Michelle attended the annual Educare data camp on the campus of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where all local evaluators of Educare schools come together to talk about and analyze data.
Rachel and Caitlin published a paper in Frontiers of Psychology, “Parenting and family self-sufficiency within Early Head Start”.
In our November ARC meeting, we welcomed new graduate student Anne Berset and discussed the process for identifying a dissertation topic.
Caitlin and Rachel published a paper in the Journal of American College Health entitled “Mindfulness, coping, and disruptions as predictors of college student distress at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Kevin, Eleanor, Vanessa, Caitlin and colleague Kyle DeMeo Cook from Boston University published a research brief with the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health suggesting how relationships between Early Head Start providers and families are important to child and family outcomes.
On October 25, Rachel and Caitlin presented the Connecticut Start Early project to the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood staff at the Connecticut Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
The second ARC meeting of the year was held in October, focusing on job talks and preparing for the job market.
ARC faculty and graduate students attended the HDFS Luckey Lecture series to hear Dr. Adriana Umaña-Taylor speak about her work on the development of ethnic-racial identity during adolescence.
Caitlin, Vanessa, Kevin, and colleague Kyle DeMeo Cook from Boston University published a research brief examining racial and ethnic matches between children and providers in Early Head Start.
Rachel and Caitlin met with the staff from the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood to discuss the Connecticut Start Early project.
The first ARC lab meeting of the year! We welcomed new graduate students, Amanda Sather and Delaina Carlson.
Rachel, Vanessa and Michelle spent the day with the Educare Springfield staff talking about research and sharing ideas about the year ahead.
Rachel and Caitlin presented to staff from the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood on the Connecticut Start Early project plans.
The Elevating Equity team, of Caitlin, Rachel, Vanessa, and Kevin Ferreira van Leer, joined a Peer Convening of other research teams to discuss project updates and joint dissemination work.
Rachel and Caitlin attended the 2023 Meeting of the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium (CCEEPRC) in Washington, DC. Rachel presented a paper on exciting new work that we are undertaking with the state of Connecticut, Integrating Comprehensive Services in Early Education Programs: A State Example.
Caitlin and Rachel attended the grantee meeting for their secondary data analysis grant funded by the Administration for Children and Families. The meeting was in Washington, DC, the day before the CCEEPRC meeting.
Caitlin spoke to the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health about her research on the effects of publicly funded health insurance on children’s health and development. Read more about this research here in this UConn Today article.
Congratulations to all of our Early Childhood students who graduated this May!
Congratulations to Jennifer, who graduated from UConn with a BA in Human Development and Family Sciences. She presented a research poster entitled Parent Involvement in Educare and Child Outcomes at the UConn Frontiers Undergraduate Research poster exhibition. She worked closely with Eleanor on the analysis for this poster.
Caitlin and Rachel attended the kick off meeting for the Connecticut Blue Ribbon panel on Child Care, a group charged with providing the governor of Connecticut with recommendations to support the child care system.
Caitlin received tenure and was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor! Read more about Caitlin here.
Congratulations to Eleanor Fisk, who successfully defended her dissertation, How Early is Early Enough? How Enrolling in Early Head Start and the Availability of Services during Pregnancy promotes later Parenting and Child Development Outcomes, today! In May, Eleanor will start a position as a Research Associate at James Bell Associates within their Child and Family Development practice area. Read more about Eleanor in the HDFS Grad Student Spotlight.
Caitlin, Rachel, Eleanor, Rong, Vanessa and Michelle attended the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eleanor presented a paper from her dissertation, “Associations between services available to pregnant women through Early Head Start and toddlers’ socioemotional development.” Caitlin was a panelist in a roundtable discussion focused on lessons from community-engaged research approaches. She also presented a paper, “Understanding comprehensive service referrals among families in Early Head Start.” Rong presented…Michelle presented and Vanessa presented . Rachel led a meeting of the Network of Infant-Toddler Researchers (NitR), a national group funded by the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation in the Administration of Children and Families, that brings together applied researchers focused on bridging policy, research and practice.
Along with colleagues from around the country, Rachel presented a workshop about the importance of Home Visitors understanding and utilizing social justice principles in their work with families. The workshop was presented at the annual National Home Visiting Summit.
Rachel was invited to present to Strategies for Children, an advocacy group in Massachusetts, about how research is embedded in Educare schools.
Rachel, Vanessa, Michelle and Eleanor attended the annual Educare data camp on the campus of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where all local evaluators of Educare schools come together to talk about and analyze data!
Caitlin, Rachel, and Eleanor Fisk presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management in Washington, DC. Eleanor presented a paper, “(In)equities in the availability of services through Early Head Start during pregnancy”. Caitlin presented a paper, entitled “Understanding comprehensive services in Early Head Start for children and families with greater needs”. Rachel presented a paper entitled, How Comprehensive Services in Early Head Start Lead to Impacts for Children & Families.
Rachel and Caitlin briefed federal staff, specifically the Coordinated Services Workgroup in the Administration for Children and Families, the government agency that oversees Head Start and Child Care ~ Unpacking Comprehensive Services in Early Head Start.
Rachel (pictured here) was part of a National Head Start Association briefing on Early Head Start for the bipartisan Congressional PreK and Child Care Caucus. She and Caitlin also visited the offices of several members from the Connecticut Congressional Delegation.
Rachel and Caitlin applied for and received a secondary data analysis grant from the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation. Using data from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project, the project will explore the mechanisms of how Early Head Start has long term positive impact for Black children