Faculty News

Lynne Vernon-Feagans and colleagues receive funding for additional analysis of Family Life Project data

Photo of Lynne Vernon-Feagans,

Lynne Vernon-Feagans


Lynne Vernon-Feagans, William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood, Intervention and Literacy and Professor of Psychology, received a $120,000, one-year grant from the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funds will support further analysis of data collected by the Family Life Project.

The grant, titled “Child Care Subsidy Use and the Relationship to Parental Work and Child Care Quality in Rural Communities,” aims to understand how low-income rural families use child care subsidies, the quality of care they receive, and how subsidy use is related to child outcomes and parental work conditions. Data for this secondary analysis will be drawn from a representative sample of rural families in six rural counties in Pennsylvania and North Carolina who have been studied from the time one of their children was born.

The Family Life Project was established in 2002 with a $16.5 million, five-year grant from National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a division of the National Institutes of Health. The project examined 1,300 children who live in rural, high-poverty counties in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The researchers studied these rural children from their birth through age three, to determine the biological, individual, family and community processes that lead to good or poor outcomes for them.  

In 2007, NICHD awarded Vernon-Feagans an additional $13 million, five-year grant to extend the study of these children as they made the transition to school, beginning with their pre-kindergarten settings.

The Family Life Project is the largest multidisciplinary study of rural children ever undertaken. The findings are proving important as a basis for designing prevention programs for preschool children who are likely to experience later school failure.

Vernon-Feagans is the lead project investigator for the Family Life Project. Her colleagues on the new child care subsidy grant are Allison DeMarco, a post-doctoral researcher with the Family Life Project, and Kirsten Kainz (Ph.D. ’05), an investigator with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and a former doctoral student of Vernon-Feagans.