WWC review of this study

Immediate effects of a school readiness intervention for children in foster care

Pears, K. C., Fisher, P. A., Kim, H. K., Bruce, J., Healey, C. V., & Yoerger, K. (2013). Early Education & Development, 24, 771-791.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grade

Reviewed: December 2018

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Indeterminate effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Letter Naming Fluency subtest

Kids in Transition to School vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
192 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%
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  • Race
    Native American
    Other or unknown
    Pacific Islander
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    


Children in the study were in nonkinship or kinship foster care. The intervention for children and families involved in the child welfare system was delivered in early childhood centers and school-based classrooms in two counties in the Pacific Northwest. The study sample included children entering kindergarten in the fall, and the intervention was delivered in the summer before kindergarten entry.

Study sample

Sample demographics for the consented sample are reported for each group, but not for the full sample. Information on age, gender, and race/ethnicity are reported, and the groups were demographically equivalent on these observed variables. Generally, the groups were half male (KITS-SRP: 52%, FCC: 46%), half European American (KITS-SRP: 55%, FCC: 51%), almost one-third Latino (KITS-SRP: 30%, FCC: 31%), and around one-sixth other racial/ethnic groups (KITS-SRP: 15%, FCC: 18%). No information on socioeconomic status (e.g., free-and-reduced lunch) is reported.

Intervention Group

KITS-SRP is implemented in center- or school-based classrooms during the 2 months prior to kindergarten entry, in order to prepare children in foster care for kindergarten. It consists of a 24-session, child-focused curriculum (with 2 hours sessions meeting twice weekly) which teaches children self-regulatory, prosocial, and early literacy skills. This component is taught by a graduate-level lead teacher and two assistant teachers to groups of 12 to 15 children. The caregiver-focused component also uses a manualized curriculum, meets at the same time as the child-focused groups, and is taught by one facilitator and one assistant.

Comparison Group

FCC, the foster care comparison group, received child welfare services as usual, which could include any number of psychosocial and health interventions, including which child psychotherapy, speech therapy, Head Start programs, or another early childhood education program.

Support for implementation

The school readiness teachers and the caregiver group facilitators completed a standardized 40-hour training program. They also attended weekly intervention team meetings to review progress of children and caregivers and tailor intervention strategies to address behavioral and literacy needs that were identified in the meetings. The children and caregivers received supplemental materials and weekly homework assignments through Home-School Connection newsletters to outline school readiness topics and home practice actvities.


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