Improving the Quality of Life for Children and Families in the US Virgin Islands Through Relevant, Culturally Competent Social Services

A significant percentage (28% for the Territory; 31% for St. Croix) of families in the USVI live in conditions that are deeply impacted by poverty (Virgin Islands Community Survey, 2008). Funds for a Cooperative Agreement to support research aimed at increasing the overall quality, delivery and outcomes of human service programs in the Territory are critical. Currently, there is a paucity of research on the efficacy of Head Start programs (Giambruno et al., 1997), and no research data on the quality and/or the impact of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs in the USVI. Thus, the proposed project seeks to fill critical gaps in the research on the human service needs and assets, and to identify the most efficacious approaches to improve the quality of life for residents of the USVI who participate in the Head Start and TANF Programs. This will be done through the following objectives:
  • Objective 1: By the end of Year 3, establish an accessible, comprehensive research infrastructure to support the provision of quality human services programs to clients in the Head Start and TANF programs in the USVI. 
  • Objective 2: By the end of Year 3, conduct two human services research studies. This objective is a priority for USVI policy makers involved in the delivery of public assistance programs. Though the specifics of the research studies to be conducted will be determined by the members of the Research Partnership, based on key informant interviews with VI Department of Human Services personnel.
Anticipated outcomes include: a redundant, reliable, comprehensive, secure database of information on public assistance programs and participants; greater collaboration among USVI policy-makers; data-driven policy recommendation to improve human service programs; an increase in the cadre of local researchers engaged in human service research; completion of two empirical studies; dissemination of research findings; and contributions to the literature on the Early/Head Start and TANF programs in the USVI.

Click Here For: Catalog of Secondary Resources 

Click Here For: Human Services Research Partnership Fact Sheet