Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University
Cohort Six Fellow

Academic Mentor
M. Ann Easterbroks
Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University

Policy Mentor
Tom Weber
Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

Research Interests
child care, resilience, at-risk populations, social-emotional development, caregiver-child relationships

Areas of Expertise

Early Childhood Education and Initiatives, Evidence-Based/Evidence-Informed Programs, Families and Family Systems, Home Visiting and Maltreatment Prevention, Maternal Health, Prevention Science, Program Evaluation, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Regression Modeling, Mixed Methods, Adolescents and Young Adults, Infants and Toddlers, Low-Income Families and Individuals, Preschool-aged Children

Rachel Katz is a doctoral student in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Her research focuses on exploring the influence of children's early experiences on developmental outcomes, including how development can be modified by factors such as child care, caregiver-child relationships, and adversity. Ms. Katz received a BA in Psychology from Bates College. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she worked for four years as a research assistant in the Lab for Developmental Studies at Harvard University, which deepened her interest in developmental science, research, and program development, and fueled her desire to study child development from an applied perspective. Ms. Katz is currently working on the Massachusetts Healthy Families Evaluation, a randomized controlled trial of an intervention for young parents focused on promoting positive life course trajectories for mothers and children, supporting positive parenting, reducing child maltreatment, and enhancing maternal well-being.


Child Care as a Protective Factor for At-Risk Young Children: Potential Mechanisms and Long-Term Outcomes

Research investigating the impact of early child care on development suggests that for at-risk populations in particular (e.g., children from low-income families), high-quality child care can promote positive development and serve as a barrier against risks that adversely influence developmental trajectories. Although a substantial number of studies have investigated the impact of child care on the development of children from low-income families, there is a dearth of research focused specifically on children of adolescent mothers. Furthermore, few studies have focused on the mechanisms by which quality child care fosters positive development. The proposed dissertation investigates patterns of child care use across four time points, associations between child care participation and socioemotional and cognitive outcomes in early childhood, and mechanisms by which child care fosters positive development using a randomized controlled-trial evaluation of a child maltreatment prevention program for adolescent parents.