Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Strategic Leadership Studies


Karen A. Ford


This mixed-methods research study utilized Shared Leadership and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) design and looked at the relationship between qualities of Family Service Workers (FSWs) in Head Start and family outcomes. Head Start is a federally funded comprehensive early child development program serving families of low income children ages birth to five. Fifty Head Start FSW participants from a convenience sample in Virginia provided complete responses to a survey instrument distributed at the Virginia Head Start Association Health and Family Conference in November 2014. FSWs from Culpeper Head Start served as CBPR participants and contributed to the selection of variables, survey instrument design and discussion of the results, as well as triangulation and member checking. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine if education/degree, training hours, certificate/credentials, experience and Head Start parent status as a set were statistically significant of family service utilization and family service provision. It was determined that the only statistically significant predictor of family service utilization explaining 25% of the variance was Associates degree. It was also determined that the model that explained 30.1% of the variance of family service provision included Associates Degree, Bachelors Degree and no experience as a Head Start parent. Qualitative content analysis was conducted with the use of word clouds. This analysis provided depth of understanding to the types of degrees, credentials, training and experience of the FSWs and additional information to develop questions on future survey instruments. With Associates Degree being a significant predictor of positive family outcomes in both multiple regression analyses, it is possible this may be an important contribution to shape future policy decisions on required qualifications for FSWs. Further research with this population is necessary.



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