Are there patterns to the way in which risk factors that undermine families and outcomes for young children combine? Research from the UK-wide Millennium Cohort Study suggests not and underlines the challenges facing early intervention.
We know that aggressive behavior in adolescents costs money. Now, a recent study suggests the costs may start piling up much earlier – with the families of aggressive four-year-olds.
Conduct disorder, ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder are considered separate diagnoses of chronic behavioral problems. But despite their differences, these conditions develop from similar risk factors in children’s early environments, a recent review argues.
Investing in early childhood education programs returns more than $3 for every dollar spent, according to data from Washington state. Analysis shows how the benefits of better test scores, graduation rates, lifetime earnings, and crime rates translate into cash – and why policy-makers are listening.
Nutrition in developing countries is not just about access to food, research suggests. The feeding practices of parents must also improve to combat child malnutrition.
Good quality early years childcare helps prepare children for school. What’s more, it also improves their parents’ “school readiness,” research points out.
Preschool improves the development of disadvantaged children in Western countries, but what about elsewhere in the world? What about children living in developing countries who experience extreme poverty? Can the promise of preschool be fulfilled for those kids, too?
Children who participate in the US’s Early Head Start program do better in the short run than their peers, on average. But these averages hide a lot of variation – variation that may be due to family characteristics, one study claims.
A little girl scrapes her knee. Crying follows. A little boy laughs at the girl. A decade later, antisocial behavior follows. An exaggeration? Or could it really be true? A recent study makes a strong argument that the link is real.
Young children who are securely attached to their parents typically develop fewer problems down the line. But does attachment to both parents provide double benefits? On the contrary: a new study suggests that infants who were attached to only one parent did just as well in their later behavior as those who were attached to both.
Research into school bullying has highlighted the important part that bystanders can play in preventing victimization if they intervene or seek adult help. But children who feel strongly enough to do that may be in a minority.
Children abused by adults are known to be at increased risk of developing the serious and persistent mental illness known as borderline personality-disorder (BPD). New research suggests that bullying and victimization by other children is another important risk factor.
Genetic variation does affect the way ordinary children bond with their parents – but one study finds that maltreatment by parents overpowers the contribution of genes. The good news is that interventions improve bonding for maltreated babies of all genetic types.
Latino parents are less likely than their non-Latino white counterparts to put their children in formal, center-based early care. Some say this results from parents’ cultural choices – but research shows it may have more to do with cost.
Investment in early education for disadvantaged children is one policy decision for which a moral argument can be made. Another perspective comes from economists such as James Heckman, who focus on how such investments can increase equity and are good for the overall economy.
Ensuring babies and toddlers develop good sleeping patterns is crucial to their future well-being. But, as research reveals, marital difficulties can act as a significant impediment to infants getting a good night’s sleep.
Evidence-based programs that attempt to reduce achievement gaps between disadvantaged children and their better-off counterparts in the early years are effective, but their impact is, at best, modest. The director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child argues that new interventions should shift their focus – from just stimulating the minds of these children to also protecting their brains.
Studies show that an investment in high quality childcare can help to break the cycle of poverty and depression that afflicts families under stress.
It’s one of the hardest sells in the prevention world—the task of recruiting families to parenting programs. But one intervention is fighting the dismal statistics with a common sense approach. Instead of waiting for the families to come to them, they are going where almost every family is created, and where most have to go multiple times, the local hospital.
Resources may be scarce and policy makers might have to make difficult decisions about what to buy. But a more rational strategy that invests early for later benefits would make sometimes nitpicking and frequently complicated comparisons between the value of one "flagship" prevention program and another irrelevant.
The family systems approach that underpins parenting programs such as Multisystemic Therapy, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and Functional Family Therapy may have a value in the treatment of juvenile sex offending, psychologists at the Medical University of South Carolina suggest.
Nick Axford explains the differences between English and Welsh approaches to implementing and evaluating Sure Start – and considers the lessons for the future.
Results of introducing an American parenting program to parts of Wales under the aegis of the well-established UK prevention initiative, Sure Start, have been so encouraging that they pose important challenges to makers of UK policy.
You there! What do you think you’re doing – improving protective factors and reducing behavioral risk, or peddling a cultural perspective that regards most forms of human experience as the source of emotional distress?
Subscribe to our newsletter
Click here to subscribe to the Prevention Action Newsletter.
There is more to the international transfer of prevention programs than just hitting the “copy and paste” buttons. The introduction of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program to Ireland offers insights into how to succeed.
Few people working with children will have heard the term “prevention scientist,” let alone know what one is or does. Yet this relatively new breed of researcher is behind the growing list of evidence-based programs being promoted in western developed countries. A new publication puts them under the microscope.
Crime and antisocial behavior prevention efforts have flourished over the last 10 years in the US. This progress can and should be used to help communities improve the life chances of their young people, a recent update urges.
Given the well-known barriers to implementing evidence-based programs, is it better to identify their discrete elements and trust practitioners to combine them in tailored packages depending on the needs of the child and family in question?