Kin as Teachers: An Early Childhood Education and Support Intervention for Kinship Families




Kerry A. Littlewood, Anne L. Strozier, and Danielle Whittington

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Other Models


Whereas child welfare has championed efforts in kinship care practice, policy, and research, there is a growing need for other systems of care, specifically early childhood education, to improve the ways in which kinship care families are supported. This study highlights outcomes from the Kin As Teachers (KAT) Program, an early childhood education program specifically designed for children living with a grandparent or other relative. KAT addresses the areas of parent knowledge and parenting practices, detection of developmental delays and health issues, prevention of child abuse and neglect, and promotion of school readiness and success. Current issues facing kinship families with young children are highlighted using quantitative data and case studies based on 83 grandparents and other relatives providing care for 185 children. Pre and post tests show results on age appropriate family environment and the caregivers' knowledge of child development. Two case studies describing the familial experience in KAT detail the process evaluation related to this intervention. Results indicate improved age appropriate family environment and an increase in caregivers' knowledge of child development for families participating in KAT. Implications for social work practice include suggestions for ways social workers and early childhood educators can better support kinship caregiving families. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Parent-child observations
  • Standardized assessment tools
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Littlewood, K. A., Strozier, A. L., & Whittington, D. (2014). Kin as Teachers: An early childhood education and support intervention for kinship families. Children and Youth Services Review, 38, 1–9. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.11.026
Author Contact Information:
Kerry A. Littlewood


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes
  • Program Enhancements, Innovations, and Promising Approaches