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Early-childhood intervention may improve well-being through young adulthood

Minority preschoolers from low-income families who participated in a comprehensive school-based intervention appear to fare better educationally, criminally and economically into young adulthood, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Early childhood interventions have demonstrated consistent positive effects on childrens health and well-being, the authors write as background information in the article. The types of programs that have received the largest growth in public funding are preschool programs for mostly at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds that provide both educational and family services in a center-based environment. One such intervention, the Child-Parent Center program in Chicago, is available from preschool through third grade and features instruction by qualified teachers, low child-to-staff ratios, health and nutrition services and an intensive parent program that includes classroom involvement, field trips and home visits.

Arthur J. Reynolds, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues, studied the long-term effects of the Child-Parent Center program. A total of 1,539 low-income minority children who were born in 1979 or 1980 and attended programs at 25 sites between 1985 and 1986 were compared with 550 children who participated in alternative full-day kindergarten programs available to low-income families. The children were tracked through age 24 using various methods, including records from schools, Medicaid and county, state and federal agencies, as well as a survey completed by the participants between ages 22 and 24 years.

By age 24, children who had participated in the Child-Parent Center preschool were:

  • More likely to have finished high school (71.4 percent vs. 63.7 percent) and to be attending four-year colleges (14.7 percent vs. 10 percent)

  • More likely to have health insurance co
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Contact: Drew Swain
612-625-8962
JAMA and Archives Journals
6-Aug-2007


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