Term Paper: Head Start, Social Control Theory

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[. . .] The Social Control theorists start with the idea that human actions are by character disruptive and aberrant.

Travis Hirschi affirms that people do sins because it is in their nature to do so and we are all animals and are in nature capable of doing criminal acts. The query that really needs a solution is why do most people do not make sins. Social Control theorists would see offenders as acting out of their most primitive likings. This viewpoint asserts that members in society form union with other members in society or association in society such as parents, pro-social friends, churches, schools, teachers and sports teams, to name a few. (Box, 1981, p.15)

The devotion to social norms of behavior and to achieve in regard to such values as getting a good education, a good job, and being triumphant; the attachment and love that develop between children and key people in their lives, such as parents, teachers, relatives and friends; association in activities because the more activities a person is involved in, the lesser he or she will get into trouble; and finally the fact that most persons are brought up to believe in and value the law are the social links identified by Hirschi. Being an honest citizen, the person makes higher levels of social capital and internalizes the standards of society by making these links. As the adolescent fail to form the same relationship and make the same levels of social capital as an honest citizen, this viewpoint would tackle young criminal behavior. The adolescent are more prone to engage in illegal actions due to the shortage in their socialization. (Box, 1981, p.18)

The social control hypothesis looks to the socialization process to comprehend the causes of deviance and method to avoid deviance as a developmental theory. The hypothesis had four clear suggestions of public policies. Firstly it suggests that in order to decrease abnormal behavior, programs must help parents to bring up their children in a manner that emphasizes conventionality and the development of strong relationship to pro-social behaviors and approach. Secondly it suggests that the bond between the compliant parent and child must be powerful in order for youth to develop strong relationship to conventionality. Programs that will help parents to build strong moving bonds with their children are required. The youths must also build strong dedication to conservative lines of actions. Children must build up strong investments in their schoolwork and in their family life. This is mainly demanding for children who live in deprived family, where there may be only one parent. Finally, the programs must help young people in assessing the costs and profit of their actions. Children may not think cautiously about the costs of their actions. They are at risk of only bearing in mind the profits of abnormal acts and not the costs. (Zill, 2003, p.3).

For children from underprivileged families, childcare programs and quality pre-kindergarten programs have formed staged, enduring influence on their lives. These comprise of raising their high school graduation rates and reducing sin. One of the programs that make results in these areas is the Head Start program. As adults, Head Start graduates have revealed to have lesser crime rates. African-American graduates were 12% less likely to have been later charged or found guilty of a crime than their siblings who attended other playgroup programs, according to a large national survey of Head Start graduates. Likewise, girls who did not attend Head Start were three times more likely to have been arrested by the age of 22 (15%vs.5%) than alike girls who had taken part in Head Start as per a Florida study. For initial childhood expansion programs, Head Start plays a vital role as a national laboratory. The challenge to concentrate on considerable results for social ability and school-readiness in young children is taken up by Head Start. Head Start Quality Research Centers have been created to instigate this effort by four main educational organizations and Head Start grantees around the country and are piloting new methods to computing and gathering data. Head Start is teaming up with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health to build up strong scientific research on young children and is also raising investment in study that follows children and families over time. (Garces, et.al, 2002, p.1003).

Ten percent of students show elevated levels of unsociable, violent behavior as reported by Head Start teachers. Elevated levels of rebellious and felonious behaviors are noticeable in later years by 60% of young children with elevated levels of violent behaviors according to research. By offering services to advance the social/emotional and behavioral development of youngsters, Head Start deals with this problem. The Incredible Years program is used by some Head Start centers to cure children at-risk for afterwards behavioral problems. Problem-solving abilities and non-aggressive communal skills are emphasized in children by parents, teachers and family service workers who received training at Incredible Years. Children in Head Start were arbitrarily allotted to a control group or The Incredible Years group in a study performed in Washington State. Amongst the children with conduct problems, a remarkable decrease in aggressive and oppositional behavior is observed in 56% of children in the control group and 96% of those who participated in Head Start/Incredible Years. (Kuperschmidt; Bryant, and Willoughby, 2000, p. 44).

Children below three get the benefits of Head Start through an established program called Early Head Start (EHS). Through centers or through home visits, families are assisted. A national evaluation of EHS was carried out by Mathematica Policy Research and Columbia University. Compared to the families that did not receive the program, those families that were arbitrarily allotted to receive the combined center/home visit approach have shown 62% more chances to read to their children daily. On a test of cognitive, social and emotional development, children dropped out of EHS were 34% more likely to score in the low range than those registered in EHS. Also, spectacular enduring results are shown by other center and home visitation programs for at-risk families. Services for families for the first five years of their children's lives were given in Syracuse. Compared to children who had been enrolled to the programs, children who did not receive the program showed nearly four times elevated adolescent criminal behavior rate and much more harsh offences ten years later. (Love, et al. 2002, p. 4).

Only 60% of 3 and 4-year-old children in poverty were assisted by Head start due to insufficient financial support. Less than 5% of younger children in poverty alone can be served by Early Head Start. In order to enroll more eligible children, increased funding is needed, which can result in enhancements such as increasing teacher qualifications and implementing proven curricula, including parent coaching and interventions for children with behavioral problems. By investing in quality services now, millions of Americans can be prevented from being victims of crime and millions of susceptible children can become creative and responsible adults.


Box, Steven. "Deviance, Reality and Society" International Thomson Publishing, 1981

Garces, E. Thomas, D. & Currie, J. (2002). "Longer-term Effects of Head Start." American Economic Review, Volume 92(4), pp.999-1012.

Kuperschmidt, J.B. Bryant, D. And Willoughby, M. (2000). "Prevalence of Aggressive Behaviors among Preschoolers in Head Start and Community Child Care Programs." Behavioral Disorders, Volume 26, pp.42-52.

Love, J.M. et al. (2002). "Making A Difference in the Lives of Infants and Toddlers and their Families: The Impacts of Early Head Start" Volume I, Final technical Report. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Head Start Bureau. Washington, DC

Oden, S. Schweinhart, L.J. Weikart, D.P. Marcus, S.M. & Xie, Y. (2000). "Into Adulthood: A Study of the Effects of Head Start." Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

Webster-Stratton, C. Reid, M.J. Hammond, M. (2001). "Preventing Conduct Problems, Promoting Social Competence: A Parent and Teacher Training Partnership in Head Start." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Volume 30(3), pp.283-302.


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