Early Care and Education for Children in Poverty: Promises, Programs, and Long-Term Results

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Barnett and Boocock present a multi-disciplinary assessment of the long-term outcomes of early care and education in the United States and abroad. Innovative new research, together with up-to-date, comprehensive reviews, provide lessons for the design of early childhood programs, policies, and research. Contributors from the fields of education, psychology, sociology, and economics address questions about the causal relationships through which early childhood programs produce their long-term effects, the characteristics of effective early childhood programs, how nations respond to the global social and economic trends that are changing the lives of children and their families everywhere, child care's effects on maternal labor force participation, the potential and perils of welfare reform, and the implications of national economic and political structures for early care and education policies.

A unique feature of the book is its attention to the practical problems of conducting research to support public policy development, translating research results into public policy, and improving communication between researchers and policy makers. The research presented in this important volume clearly establishes that early care and education can permanently improve the lives of children in poverty, provides research-based recommendations for achieving that goal through public policy, and sets an agenda for future research on early care and education's long-term outcomes.
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About the author

At Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education, W. Steven Barnett is Professor of Economics and Policy. Barnett has written and collaborated on several books, including Lives in the Balance: Age-27 Benefit-Cost Analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program.

Sarane Spence Boocock is Professor of Sociology. Boocock has published many other works, including An Introduction to the Sociology of Learning and Turning Points: Historical and Sociological Essays on the Family.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 1998
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780791495810
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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There is increasing evidence that the first few years after birth are particularly important in child development and present opportunities for enrichment but also vulnerabilities do to poverty and other social stressors. Elected officials have begun proposing potentially costly programs to intervene early in the lives of disadvantaged children. Have such interventions been demonstrated to yield substantial benefits? To what extent might they pay for themselves through lower welfare and criminal justice costs incurred by participating children as they grow into adults? This study synthesizes the results of a number of previous evaluations in an effort to answer those questions. Conclusions are that under carefully controlled conditions, early childhood interventions can yield substantial advantages to recipients in terms of emotional and cognitive development, education, economic well-being, and health. (The latter two benefits apply to the children's families as well.) If these interventions can be duplicated on a large scale, the costs of the programs could be exceeded by subsequent savings to the government. However, the more carefully the interventions are targeted to children most likely to benefit, the more likely it is that savings will exceed costs. Unfortunately, these conclusions rest on only a few methodologically sound studies. The authors argue for broader demonstrations accompanied by rigorous evaluations to resolve several important unknowns. These include the most efficient ways to design and target programs, the extent to which effectiveness is lost on scale-up, and the implications of welfare reform and other safety net changes.
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