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New Study Examines Sustainability and Scale-Up of Home Visiting Interventions for Early Childhood Development

11 July, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — July 11, 2017 — A new study by the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI) paints a picture of the challenges encountered by the workforce supporting the emotional, social and physical development of young children and proposes ideas on how to overcome them. The report funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation spotlights Cuna Más — a successful, large-scale early childhood development (ECD) program in Peru that operates a home visiting service in rural areas.

Home visiting programs and similar ECD interventions targeting young children and families can positively impact a child's development and lead to long-term health, education and social benefits. It’s common for these kinds of programs employ numerous professionals, paraprofessionals and volunteers.

Commenting on the significance of the study, Dr. Joan Lombardi, senior advisor to the Bernard van Leer Foundation said,  “This study provides important insights into the workforce issues faced as countries move to scale up early childhood programs.”

Kimberly Josephson, a senior program associate at Results for Development and one of the authors of the case study, said, “The first few years in children’s lives are the best opportunity we have to support their physical, cognitive and socioemotional development. The early childhood workforce is so important because it’s how we reach children and families in the first place. But the reality is members of this workforce don’t feel that they have the resources, motivation or support to do their jobs well — especially in low- and middle-income countries. ”

As one of few home visiting programs operating — and having been evaluated — at scale in low- and middle-income countries, Cuna Más holds valuable workforce lessons that may resonate more broadly with ECD programs and policymakers seeking to reach young children and families around the world:

  • Supervision in the field is critical for the home visiting workforce, particularly in rural contexts where many workers have limited training or experience and work independently much of the time.

  • In addition to delivering important content, educational materials are critical for empowering community home visitors who may not have the training or experience to otherwise provide guidance to young children and families.

  • It is important to identify and address workers’ travel-related barriers, especially in rural or remote areas.

  • Career ladders and pay scales can reward both professionals and volunteers for their dedication, retain and leverage the experience of high-performing individuals, and encourage strong candidates to see working in ECD as a viable career path, rather than temporary employment.

Download the executive summary in English.

Download the executive summary in Spanish.

Download the full report in English.

About the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative

The Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI) is a global effort to support practitioners led by Results for Development and the International Step by Step Association. Under ECWI, a series of country studies will examine ways to strengthen and scale up a quality workforce.

About Results for Development

Results for Development (R4D) is a nonprofit organization with partners and activities in more than 55 countries. Our goal is healthy, educated people — because they are the foundation of prosperous and equitable societies. And we believe that achieving lasting, large-scale results in the interrelated fields of health, education and nutrition, requires a holistic, systems-based approach. We work with government officials, civil society leaders and social entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries to strengthen key policies, institutions and processes so that everyone — especially people who are marginalized or living in poverty — has access to high-quality, affordable health care, education and nutrition-related products and services. We listen to local change agents to find out what they need most and then we provide expert advice, generate and share evidence about what works and build networks to help them overcome challenges and roadblocks. At the same time, we synthesize and share knowledge globally about how to improve health, education and nutrition outcomes, so that others can get results for development as well. For more information, visit our website at: www.r4d.org.

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