Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elizabeth Harry

Second Committee Member

Robert F. Moore

Third Committee Member

Susan Fine Gold

Fourth Committee Member

Batya Elbaum


Although family centered care and natural environment services have been heralded as the ideal model in early childhood intervention and have been mandated by Part C of IDEA, research demonstrates that family centered principles are still not adhered to in many early childhood programs. Previous research in this area is lacking with regard to the limited diversity of participants (i.e., white, middle-class woman) and perspectives (i.e., childcare providers). This dissertation reports the results of a study that took into account perspectives of multiple stakeholders in early intervention including families, service providers, and program directors in order to understand the full range of difficulties and supports experienced when providing family centered care in the natural environment. This qualitative study used grounded theory methods to analyze information gathered through semi-structured interviews to elaborate the barriers and facilitators experienced in family centered care and natural environment services. The core theme identified in the data was the tension between the resources available to early intervention and the ideals of best practice. This core finding was supported by three themes regarding facilitators and barriers to service provision. Two of these, the need for theoretical buy-in to the model and the challenges of negotiating roles in family centered care, emerged as either facilitators or barriers, depending on service provider roles. The third theme was common across the data and indicated that the major barrier to natural environment services was the management of scarce resources.


Family Centered; Natural Environment; Early Intervention

Previous Versions

Apr 14 2011 (withdrawn)