Research shows that the earliest years of life are a critical period of human development. Young children’s earliest relationships and experiences have a strong influence on brain development and a child’s future health and well-being.
- Implementation Science
- Formative Rapid Cycle Evaluation
- Systematic Evidence Reviews
- Systems and System Change
- Program Evaluation
- Monitoring and Technical Assistance
- Early Childhood
- Child Development
- Quality Measurement
- Early Childhood Systems
- Strengthening Families and Responsible Fatherhood
- Youth Development
Diane Paulsell has more than 20 years of experience researching the implementation and effects of early childhood education and family support programs and policies on low-income families and children. Her areas of expertise include early childhood education, home visiting, home-based child care, parenting education, early childhood systems, healthy marriage and relationship education programs, and measurement of program implementation and quality.
Paulsell has both national and international experience on studies of early childhood and family support programs. For the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she directs an effort to develop an equity-focused research agenda on policies to support families with young children. She is co-project director of Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS), a multisite random assignment evaluation of relationship skills education for low-income adults and youth. She also leads a formative rapid cycle evaluation of self-regulation training approaches to increase the impact of relationship education programs for youth. Paulsell has directed or served as senior advisor on several studies of home-based child care funded by the Administration of Children and Families, including the Early Head Start Enhanced Home Visiting Pilot Evaluation, Supporting Quality in Home-Based Child Care, Early Head Start for Family Child Care, and the Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. She has also directed systematic evidence reviews for early childhood home visiting and out-of-home early care and education for infants and toddlers. She was a member of the Early Head Start National Research and Evaluation Project study team.
Internationally, Paulsell is a consultant to the World Bank’s Early Learning Partnership Systems Research Programme. She is also coediting The Oxford Global Handbook of Program Design and Implementation Evaluation: Unpacking the “Black Box.” She was a senior researcher for the Disadvantaged Children & Youth Program, which supported the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland to improve services for disadvantaged children and youth. As senior researcher for the Evaluation of the UNICEF-Government of Netherlands Cooperation Programme on Early Childhood Development, she contributed to an evaluation of policies and services for children in Africa and Asia.
Before joining Mathematica in 1996, Paulsell served as the assistant director for special programs at the Office of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Catholic Conference. She has worked in the field on child welfare and refugee issues in California, Chile, El Salvador, and Texas. Paulsell has published articles on early childhood and family support topics in publications such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Early Education and Development, Evaluation Review, Journal of Infant Mental Health, and Zero to Three and presented her work to a range of policy, research, and practitioner audiences. She holds an M.P.A. in public policy from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
Developing a Policy Research Agenda for Low-Income Families with Young Children
Learning About Infant and Toddler Early Education Services (LITES): Identifying What Works
This project sought to identify effective models of early care and education services for infants and toddlers by reviewing the evidence on current and emerging programs.
Supporting Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs to Prevent Child Maltreatment
This national cross-site evaluation was designed to (1) examine the degree to which system change occurred, (2) document the fidelity with which the program models were implemented, and (3) identify implementation strategies and challenges.
Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration (CSPED)
The National Child Support Noncustodial Parent Employment Demonstration is testing the effectiveness of programs that aim to increase employment among noncustodial parents, with the ultimate goal of increasing the likelihood that they meet their child support obligations.
Strengthening Relationship Education and Marriage Services (STREAMS) Evaluation
To encourage the formation of healthy relationships—and ultimately stable, two-parent families—since 2005, Congress has authorized federal funding for healthy marriage and relationship education programs. STREAMS will examine a mix of programs serving adults and youth.
Building an Equity-Focused Policy Research Agenda in Support of Children’s Health and Well-Being
Many low-income people—often families of color and rural families—lack access to programs that support children’s health, development, and well-being.
Ed Week Cites Our Review of Early Care and Education Partnerships
An article in Education Week discusses Mathematica's recent review of research on early care and education partnerships and quotes associate director Diane Paulsell. The review informs the expansion of early learning opportunities for children from birth to age 3 through Early Head Start-child care partnerships.
Special Issue Provides Comprehensive Look at QRIS Research
Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) have become a key tool for states to assess, improve, and promote quality in their early care and education programs. A new theme issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly, co-edited by Mathematica senior fellow Kimberly Boller and her colleagues, Steve...
HomVEE Literature Review Identifies Effective Home Visiting Programs
The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) allocated $1.5 billion over five years for the new Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) to establish home visiting programs for at-risk pregnant women and children up to age 5. As a requirement in the law, 75 percent...