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Investing In Our Children: What We Know And Don't Know About The Costs And Benefits Of Early Childhood Interventions

by Lynn A. Karoly

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Los Angeles Times
The most comprehensive study to date of programs designed to improve the lives of poor children.

Los Angeles Times
The most comprehensive study to date of programs designed to improve the lives of poor children.

David Olds, PhD, The Kempe Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health, Colorado
This book represents a balanced, thoughtful analysis...an enormously useful resource for policy planners and early intervention researchers.

Book Description
The authors find that well-targeted early intervention programs for at-risk children, such as nurse home visits to first-time mothers and high-quality preschool education, can yield substantial advantages to participants in terms of emotional and cognitive development, education, economic well-being and health.

From the Publisher
Around the beginning of 1997, RAND was approached by the I AmYour Child Early Childhood Public Engagement Campaign to conductan independent, objective review of the scientific evidenceavailable on early childhood interventions. Early childhood interventionswere defined as attempts by government agencies or otherorganizations to improve child health and development, educationalattainment, and economic well-being. The aim was to quantify thebenefits of these programs to children, their parents, and society atlarge. Funding for the project was secured from The California WellnessFoundation.RAND's Criminal Justice Program and Labor and Population Programestablished an interdisciplinary research team including twoeconomists, a criminologist, two mathematical modelers, and a developmentalpediatrician. As the project evolved, it became convenientto separate the benefits being examined into two large categories:benefits to the children and parents participating in theprograms, and benefits by way of eventual savings to the government(and therefore society in general) from reduced levels of social serviceexpenditures on participants following the end of theprograms. For ease of reference, the first class is typically calledbenefits in this report and the second class, savings. Savings arecompared with program costs.This study was one of Peter Rydell's last projects at RAND. Peter,who was largely responsible for Chapter Three, died in October 1997. Peter's clear, rigorous approach to the analysis of societal costs,benefits, and savings was a hallmark of RAND research in multiple areas of public policy concern over a period of almost 30 years. His insight, optimism, and generosity have been an inspiration to us all.

About the Author
Lynn Karoly (PhD Economics, Yale University) is a Senior Economist at RAND. Research interests include Labor and Population, Health, and Civil Justice.

Susan M. Everingham (M.A. University of California at Los Angeles, Applied Mathematics) is the Director of the Forces and Resources Policy Center, National Security Research Division at RAND. Her areas of expertise include mathematical modeling of complex systems for policy analysis, criminal justice research, drug policy analysis, communication and information technology, and ballistic missile defense systems analysis.

Jill Hoube is a Doctoral Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Research interests include outcomes and effectiveness research in pediatrics.

Peter Rydell (U. Pennsylvania PhD Regional Science) is a Senior Social Scientist at RAND whose research interests include Military Personnel, Criminal Justice, Civil Justice, Rent Control, Housing Policy, and Welfare Caseloads.

James Chiesa (M.S., Environmental Science , Indiana University; M.A., Zoology , Indiana University) is a Communications Analyst at RAND.



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