Success in Early Intervention: The Chicago Child-Parent Centers

By Arthur J. Reynolds | Go to book overview

1
The State of Early Intervention

Low-income children and families today face many challenges that place them at risk of educational, social, and economic difficulties. This is especially the case for children growing up in central-city neighborhoods in which institutional and economic resources are limited and poverty is more concentrated. Identifying the effects of interventions to counteract these challenges and to promote child and family development is a national priority and is increasingly the focus of social research. The 1997 White House Conferences on Early Childhood Development and Learning and on Child Care are representative of the high priority given to early intervention. In this volume, early intervention is defined as the provision of educational, family, or social services to children and families, beginning in the preschool years (0-5 years), who are at risk of poor developmental outcomes due to poverty and associated factors or environmental conditions. 1 I use the terms intervention,program, and services interchangeably throughout this book.

In recent years, early childhood interventions from birth to the primary grades have received renewed attention as one of the most desirable strategies for promoting optimal development throughout the childhood years ( Carnegie Task Force, 1994; Phillips & Cabrera, 1996; Karoly et al., 1998; Zigler, 1994). Federal and state expenditures on early childhood programs are about $10 billion and are likely to continue to rise, given that only onehalf of all young children enroll in preschool ( National Science and Technology Council, 1997). The years from 3 to 10 have received special attention as crucial "intervention points" for healthy development (Carnegie

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