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Rick Fiene

Research Psychologist


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"I would like to be a voice for those who are our most vulnerable and feel they do not have a voice."

Rick Fiene has been working in prevention research for more than 40 years, focusing on childcare policy, childcare quality and human service regulatory administration and science. He initially started in prevention research because he wanted to have a positive impact on children’s’ lives. He believed that researchers were not paying enough attention to the licensing of childcare programs and decided to base his career on improving this area of research. Forty years later, Rick has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications on this topic.

His research has led to the following: identification of herding behavior of toddlers, national early care and education quality indicators, mathematical model for determining adult-child ratio compliance, solution to the "trilemma" (quality, affordability, and accessibility) in child care delivery services, online coaching as a targeted and individualize learning platform, validation framework for early childhood licensing systems and quality rating & improvement systems, and to the development of statistical techniques for dealing with highly skewed, non-parametric data distributions in human services licensing systems.

Rick is regarded as a leading international researcher/scholar on human services licensing measurement and differential monitoring systems.  His regulatory compliance theory of diminishing returns has altered human services regulatory science and licensing measurement dramatically in thinking about how best to monitor and assess licensing rules and regulations through targeted and abbreviated inspection methodologies.

Rick has worked on several key projects, including the Pennsylvania Early Childhood Quality Study; Keystone STARS: Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System; Head Start Key Indicator System, Stepping Stones for Caring for Our Children; iLookOut Child Abuse Prevention Program; Infant Toddler Caregiver Mentoring Program; Quality Indicators of Child Care Quality; Differential Monitoring; and Key Indicator and Risk Assessment ECE Systems in the majority of states and Canadian Provinces. He also played a vital role in the development of national childcare standards for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and was a key contributor to the development of Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education.

Rick received the National Association for Regulatory Administration President’s Award and the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children's Distinguished Career Voice for Children Award. He serves as the president/senior research psychologist for the Research Institute for Key Indicators and is a senior research consultant for the National Association for Regulatory Administration. Rick looks forward to continuing his work with the ACF and HHS in developing effective and efficient differential monitoring systems for childcare and Head Start program quality.

Rick says he enjoys working with the Prevention Research Center because it offers an open exchange of ideas and interests, creative dialogue with colleagues, and a synergistic energy through collaboration.

For more information about Dr. Fiene, click here.

Recent Publications

Regulatory compliance monitoring paradigms and the relationship of regulatory compliance/licensing with program quality: A program commentary

Fiene, R. J. (2022). Regulatory compliance monitoring paradigms and the relationship of regulatory compliance/licensing with program quality: A program commentary. Journal of Regulatory Science (10)1. https://doi.org/10.21423/jrs-v10i1fiene