About the Chicago Longitudinal Study

The Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS) is a federally-funded investigation of the effects of an early and extensive childhood intervention in central-city Chicago called the Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program. The study began in 1986 to investigate the effects of government-funded kindergarten programs for 1,539 children in the Chicago Public Schools.

The study is in its 20th year of operation. Besides investigating the short- and long-term effects of early childhood intervention, the study traces the scholastic and social development of participating children and the contributions of family and school practices to children’s behavior. The CPC program provides educational and family support services to children from preschool to third grade. It is funded by Title I and has operated in the Chicago Public Schools since 1967 (see the CPC History Document). 

The Chicago Longitudinal Study has four main objectives:

  • To evaluate comprehensively the impact of the CPC program on child and family development.
  • To identify and better understand the pathways (child, family, and school-related) through which the effects of program participation are manifested, and more generally, through which scholastic and behavioral development proceeds.
  • To document and describe children’s patterns of school and social competence over time, including their school achievement, academic progress, and expectations for the future.
  • To determine the effects of family, school, neighborhood, and child-specific factors and practices on social competence broadly defined, especially those can be altered to promote positive development and to prevent problematic outcomes.

Health Exam

We are now conducting an health exam of those who currently live in Chicago area and attended the Child-Parent Centers in 1985-86 or another Chicago early childhood program.

Experiences from those who completed the Health Exam

  • “Thank you for allowing me to participate. They were AWESOME! I scheduled the time with them and everything ran smoothly. I love that they fed me. The staff were very nice as well as knowledgeable, because of course I had questions. Again, thank you for allowing me to partake in such a wonderful study. I look forward to hearing from you again.”
  • “Everything went well. No problems or anything. No wait time. The woman who worked with me was very professional, easy to talk to, and it was a good experience. A packet of information was provided at the end and was helpful for me. It went over how to read the results.”
  •  “It was fine, I guess I don’t know… I looked at the results and it helped me understand that I need to lose some weight.”
  •  “When I came in, I was greeted by a hospitable group of people. They offered snacks, were very polite, and the environment was peaceful. The woman who did the health exam was polite and explained herself very well. She did a good job of explaining what test was for what, which was good because it’s very confusing and scary when you don’t know what’s going on. Overall I had a great experience.”
  •  “Oh it was pretty good. You know everyone I came in contact with was nice and I had good conversations with them. The snacks they provided were good. Everyone treated me with respect and were very nice. Not much else I have to say about it”
  • “I was super nervous going into the appointment but it was good. Everybody there was nice and made it very comfortable for me.”

Health Exam Invitation Letter

CLS Participants: We are partnering with our colleagues at Northwestern University’s Department of Preventive Medicine for our upcoming health project. You may receive a phone call from them inviting you to schedule an appointment. Dr. Arthur Reynolds, who has directed the CLS since the 1980s, and his team continue to lead the study; however, because they are currently located in Minnesota, Northwestern will help coordinate the in-person appointments for this next phase of the project. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email Dr. Reynolds’ team (612-849-7897; 1-866-872-4270; clsstaff@umn.edu). Thank you!


Midwest CPC Expansion is a five year project to expand a proven Prek-3rd grade model (Child-Parent Center Program) and evaluate its impacts on children’s well-being. The 2012-2013 preschool cohort includes a partnership of four school districts (Chicago, IL, Evanston, IL, Normal Unit 5, IL, and St. Paul Public School, MN) and eight educational organizations. Additional expansion sites (Madison, WI, and Rochester, MN) opened in Fall 2015. The goals of the Midwest CPC Expansion are to improve children’s school success and increase parent involvement in education and the community, and to develop a sustainability and scale-up plan.

Learn more about Child-Parent Centers. Visit cpcp3.org.

PreK to 3rd Grade Program Registry

Lorraine Sullivan, CPC program founder, 1917-2013.
Sullivan (1971). Let us not underestimate the children.

Lorraine M. Sullivan Memorial Fund of the Child-Parent Education Centers

CLS in the News