Date of Graduation

Fall 2022


Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development


Early Childhood and Family Development

Committee Chair

Sabrina Brinson


This study aims to determine whether preventative measures are effective if implemented while a family is in crisis, through Family Support Services (FSS), to alleviate Risk Factors, prevent family separation and ensure prolonged family stability, instead of as services to reunify a family that already separated due to a lack of resources. This study examined the Poverty Related Risk Factors of Homelessness, Single Parenthood, and Unemployment as Risk Factors that families enrolled in Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) Head Start experience as negative influences on child development and Family Unity and analyzed OACAC Head Start’s implementation of FSS as an effort to mitigate Risk Factors by reducing the barriers to receiving FSS. What are the trends in Homelessness, Single Parenthood, and Unemployment for OACAC Head Start Families was analyzed through descriptive analysis; 30.1% of participants had experienced Homelessness, 57.5% of participants are single parents, and 29.2% of participants are unemployed. Can OACAC Head Start solve the barriers to receiving Family Support Services for families was analyzed through simple linear regression. Participants that experienced barriers to receiving FSS and had those barriers solved, were more likely to be referred to FSS. Can OACAC Head Start’s resources reduce Risk Factors and stabilize families overall was examined through mixed methods. There was no statistically significant association between reducing Risk Factors and Family Unity, but participants indicated their experience with OACAC Head Start has improved their living condition, employment and financial situation, their ability to meet their child’s basic needs, and Family Unity.


family risk factors, poverty, homelessness, single parenthood, unemployment, family support services, head start

Subject Categories

Early Childhood Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Family and Consumer Sciences | Other Education | Social Work | Urban Education


© Aaliyah C. Williams

Open Access