Social Protection Programs and Early Childhood Development: Unexplored Potential

By Yale University: Pia Britto, PhD; April Williamson, M.A., Travis Snow, M.A., Kedar Mankad, M.A.


In 2012, Plan International Australia commissioned Pia Britto from Yale University to undertake research around social protection and Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD). ECCD is a core program area for Plan, in recognition of growing evidence from Plan’s own programs, as well as from around the world, that young children will only grow up to fulfill their potential when their rights to survival, protection, development, education and participation are guaranteed through integrated, quality and holistic early childhood programs. Access to ECCD programs helps children get the best possible start in life and supports parents, caregivers and other duty bearers to fulfill their roles and responsibilities to young children. Plan believes that ECCD has a critical role to play in addressing poverty and inequality.

This report begins with an overview of social protection programs and their increasing importance in the developing world as a tool for poverty reduction. With increased emphasis on these types of programs, it is important to examine their associations with ECCD as another approach to poverty alleviation. Therefore, the report follows with an exploration of early childhood care and its growing interest in the development agenda, as well as a review of the relevant literature on the interactions between these two fields. The report also presents a description of the systematic review methodology employed in this study, with an in-depth analysis of search terms, keywords, and study design.

Britto, P.R., Williamson, A., Snow, T., & Mankad, K. (2013). Social protection programs and early childhood development: Unexplored potential. Australia: Plan International Australia

Handbook of Early Child Development Research and its Impact on Global Policy

Edited by Pia Britto (Yale), Patrice Engle (Cal Poly State) & Charles Super (UConn)

Available from Oxford Press HERE

“This handbook has become the bible for making ECD central to the post-2015 development agenda.” 
R.H. Dame Tessa Jowell (MP House of Commons, UK)

ABSTRACT Globally, young children bear the greatest burden of poverty, disease, neglect, and lack of educational opportunities. This volume’s goal is to promote evidence-based policies for advancing the positive development of young children everywhere, with a specific focus on developing countries. It brings scientific knowledge about early child development in both developed and developing countries to bear on international programs and policies that affect young children and families, focusing on the whole child. The evidence framework is presented from multiple disciplinary and analytical perspections. The volume includes traditional sectoral approaches (e.g., health, nutrition, and education), as well as newer sectors such as child protection, social assistance, and child rights; and it addresses nongovernmental actors, such as community- and faith-based agencies, nonprint media, and the private sector. The volume also focuses on the “how to” of using evidence to address the greatest challenges to program quality, sustainability, and “scaling up"—the challenges of capacity building, governance, and finance. Also presented is a clear set of recommendations for future research, policy, and programmatic directions for the field, addressing not only the implications of evidence, but also recognizing the importance of including families and serving vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. The comprehensive nature of this book and its compelling use of evidence are thanks to its contributors—researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from around the world—and its organizational sponsorship by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), both leading organizations in promoting children’s well-being.

Britto, P. R., Engle, P. E., & Super, C. S. (2012). Handbook of early child development research and its impact on global policy. New York: Oxford University Press.