Take Action: Early Child Care, Safety, and Development

  • Very early care can have lasting effects on a person (at least through the age of 20).
  • Several "model" day-care programs have been shown to have lasting positive impacts on children, including their performance in school.

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Source: GiveWell

A variety of charity-run programs serve young children (e.g., ages 0-5) by working to prevent child abuse and/or promoting children’s healthy cognitive, social, and emotional development. Such programs, if effective, have the potential to dramatically improve children’s lives through long-term improvements in their physical and mental health, as well as their educational achievement.

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Source: Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy

 

Charities may run:

  • Day-care programs for young children.
  • Home-visit programs, in which professionals visit pregnant or young mothers to assist them in caring for their children.

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Source: GiveWell

Charities offer a wide variety of activities and services, such as: home visiting, parent training, and early childhood enrichment programs.

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Source: Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy

While some "model" day-care programs have been shown to have strong impact on lives, most day-care programs are substantially different from these "model" programs. Donors should ask about the specifics of how a child-care program compares to one that has been demonstrated to be effective.

The track record of home-visit programs is murky in general.

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Source: GiveWell

While programs focused on early childhood well-being have the potential to produce meaningful improvements in children’s lives, only a few are backed by strong evidence of sizable, sustained effects on important outcomes. Many programs are backed by preliminary evidence—for example, studies showing short-term effects on intermediate outcomes such as parents’ reports on their own parenting behavior, or children’s ability to identify letters. However, donors should recognize that when such programs are evaluated in more definitive studies with longer-term follow-up, these preliminary effects too often do not translate into sustained effects on more important outcomes, such as confirmed reports of child abuse and neglect, or children’s reading comprehension in elementary school. Donors should ask about the evidence supporting the effectiveness of a specific program a charity is running—particularly whether there are rigorous studies, such as well-conducted randomized controlled trials, showing sizable, sustained effects on children’s lives.

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Source: Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy