International Child Development & Social Policy

A World in Our Hands

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Despite the unequivocal scientific evidence in support of early childhood development (ECD), over 200 million young children across the globe are not achieving their potential. The majority of the world’s children live in developing countries and they continue to bear the greatest burden of poverty, disease, and conflict situations. The need is clear; despite tremendous scientific advancements, progress has been slow in adopting these children into international policies that can potentially make a difference in their lives, globally.

The international early childhood policy initiatives being carried out by the Yale Child Study Center are in response to this clear and urgent need. The goals of this work have been motivated by poor developmental outcomes for young children, globally, and the incredible scientific evidence that is being generated to ameliorate these outcomes. These initiatives endeavor to bring the evidence to bear an effect upon the formulation, implementation and analysis of international development frameworks and national-level social and public policies that impact the lives of young children.

Described below are some of the on-going projects, currently under the direction of Child Study Center faculty, James F. Leckman, MD, Kyle D. Pruett, MDPia Rebello Britto, PhD, L. Angelica Ponguta, PhD and Rima Salah, PhD.

Formative (Early) Childhoods & Peace Building

Yale University, UNICEF, AÇEV Foundation, and the Fetzer Institute and other global partners have embarked on a joint project to achieve the common objective of analyzing the linkages between early childhood development (ECD) and peace building through scientific research, to disseminate results and advocate for better policies on global platforms - as a pathway to sustainable peace.

Empowerment & Resilience in Children Everywhere (ERICE)

Guided by the belief that children everywhere are to be cherished and that respect for and protection of children is a shared human value, ERICE works to promote human rights, joint action, training and interventional projects focused on enhancing the well-being of children and families affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

Going Global

The Yale Child Study Center, in partnership with National Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University, is working with UNICEF and several countries across the globe to create an integrated system for early childhood, using a standards approach. Early learning and development standards are statements of expectation of what children at particular ages should know and be able to do. These standards form the heart of an integrated system of standards and indicators for programs, services, instructions, teacher training, program evaluation, national monitoring and public advocacy to improve the lives of young children. These standards are rooted in scientific evidence and in the national and cultural values of each country. The process of developing these standards is supported by the national government within each country and involves a participatory approach, that for most countries, includes representatives from academia, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.

This project began with 6 countries (Brazil, Ghana, Jordan, Paraguay, Philippines, and South Africa) and now has expanded to include close to 50 countries across the globe. Countries are using their developed standards for multiple uses to improve programs and services for young children in their country.

Individual Country Policy Development

Many countries are interested in developing or evaluating their national social and public policies to ensure that the survival, development, protection and participation needs of children are being met. Consequently, several countries have embarked on a process of national early childhood policy development. The Yale Child Study Center has been working with several of these countries to provide guidance and technical expertise on the policy development process and to ensure that the policies are evidence based. The team of consultants has included members from across campus, making it a multidisciplinary effort. Examples of countries include: Georgia, Lao PDR and Jordan.

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