Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Karen McCurdy


Objectives. This study tested for associations between attrition from Early Intervention programs and a child’s age at referral, race, home language, referral source, functioning, and insurance status and explored the relative predictive power of these individual child characteristics.

Methods. Data from the Rhode Island Department of Human Service’s Early Intervention Data Management System were examined using t-tests and logistic regression techniques.

Results. Overall, EI non-completers tended to be younger and non-white. They were more likely to have had public insurance and they had significantly higher developmental functioning scores at entry. Non-completers were more likely to come from Spanish speaking families; and children who were referred to EI by a medical provider or who transferred from one provider to another were more likely to drop out than children who were referred to EI because of DCYF involvement.

Conclusions. This study provides new information about child characteristics that are modest predictors of attrition. Retention efforts should focus on the sustained engagement of younger, publicly insured, non-white, Spanish-speaking, and medically referred children, acknowledging that some non-completion can be explained by the preemptive nature of EI referral policies. Finally, attrition is an important phenomenon from a program evaluation perspective because drop-outs can skew outcome assessments



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