There’s a growing recognition of the value of investing in quality early childhood programs including home visitation. Scientific research demonstrates that evidence-based home visiting improves prenatal care and birth outcomes, early child health and development, school readiness, and parenting practices; reduces child maltreatment, and helps families become more self-sufficient. These outcomes can produce a significant return on investment for states, the federal government, taxpayers and the economy.
According to Dr. James J. Heckman, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, the rate of Return of Investment (ROI) in quality early childhood development for disadvantaged children is 7-10 percent per annum thanks to better outcomes in education, health, sociability, economic productivity and reduced crime.
Fostering Skills: Gaps in knowledge and ability between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers happen long before kindergarten, tend to persist throughout life, and are difficult and costly to close. Taking a proactive approach to cognitive and social skill development through investment in quality early childhood programs is more effective and economically efficient than trying to close the gap later on. Early interventions such as home visiting play a very important role in helping prepare children for school by empowering parents – their children’s first and best teachers.
Improving Health: Additional research by Professor Heckman and his colleagues has shown dramatic long-term positive health effects due to early interventions for disadvantaged children that incorporate early education, nutrition and health. These findings demonstrate the great potential of coordinated birth-to-age-five early childhood programs to prevent chronic disease, reduce healthcare costs and help to produce a flourishing society.
Over the long run, home visiting can help improve the health of children, help them read proficiently by fourth grade, and lead to more students graduating from high school and going on to obtain a post-secondary credential, essential to finding a good job in the 21st century economy. Plus the effort has many other social benefits, such as reducing the odds that young adults end up in the criminal justice system or on social services, thus saving taxpayers money.
Sourced from: “4 Big Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood Development” (www.heckmanequation.org)