Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a historic opportunity to implement interventions, at scale, to promote early childhood development. Although the evidence base for the importance of early childhood development has grown, the research is distributed across sectors, populations, and settings, with diversity noted in both scope and focus. We provide a comprehensive updated analysis of early childhood development interventions across the five sectors of health, nutrition, education, child protection, and social protection. Our review concludes that to make interventions successful, smart, and sustainable, they need to be implemented as multi-sectoral intervention packages anchored in nurturing care. The recommendations emphasise that intervention packages should be applied at developmentally appropriate times during the life course, target multiple risks, and build on existing delivery platforms for feasibility of scale-up. While interventions will continue to improve with the growth of developmental science, the evidence now strongly suggests that parents, caregivers, and families need to be supported in providing nurturing care and protection in order for young children to achieve their developmental potential.


  • Britto, Pia R
  • Lye, Stephen J
  • Proulx, Kerrie
  • Yousafzai, Aisha K
  • Matthews, Stephen G
  • Vaivada, Tyler
  • Perez-Escamilla, Rafael
  • Rao, Nirmala
  • Ip, Patrick
  • Fernald, Lia CH
  • Macmillan, Harriet Louise
  • Hanson, Mark
  • Wachs, Theodore D
  • Yao, Haogen
  • Yoshikawa, Hirokazu
  • Cerezo, Adrian
  • Leckman, James F
  • Bhutta, Zulfiqar A

publication date

  • January 2017