"We will change the world, starting from the very beginning."
July 1, 2018 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Parent coaching, and specifically, home visiting, is not new. The most famous study, which took place in Jamaica in the 1970s, showed that well-trained home visitors supporting poor mothers with weekly visits for two years led to big improvements in children’s cognition, behavior, and future earnings. One group of infants in that program who received coaching in their earliest years earned 25% more than a control group more than 20 years later. But Brazil’s ambition is audacious.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (7 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Talking to lawmakers in Brazil can feel like wandering around a neuroscience convention. Not happening in the USA.
posted by kozad at 8:02 AM on July 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yes, even it that’s an exaggeration, the effect of this program on the lawmakers sounds like a net good, and maybe the part that impressed me the most.

But the article made me happy- always nice to hear about people being nice and supportive of each other, including babies!
posted by Secretariat at 8:07 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

That was a really interesting and inspirational article. The US would benefit so much for a New Deal-style campaign for early childhood development!
posted by the thought-fox at 8:10 AM on July 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

Great article - the part about the logistics implementation challenges was interesting. New Zealand has a Plunket Society which I've never fully understood the funding model (it's everywhere but it's volunteers?) but my siblings living there had access through it to so much early childhood and infant support. The scale Brazil is rolling out and the speed is huge.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:17 AM on July 1, 2018

Both Sue Barton and Cherry Ames spent a volume or two as Visiting Nurses, between or just after the wars, as many real women did. Useful examples for people wistful for the good old days, as are the high top tax rates...
posted by clew at 11:48 AM on July 1, 2018

(I have read the Sue Barton one more recently and IIRC the visiting nurses spend a lot of time on best practices with used newspapers. A clean enough, absorptive enough, cheap enough material to improve home health.)
posted by clew at 11:50 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anyway so, the descriptions of the actual baby health home visits were only slightly updated from the 1930s Settlement House examples, despite more neurological knowledge -- but the description of politics was fascinating. This great approach to one of the classic wicked problems
He agrees that Bolsa Familia alone is not enough. It does not promote autonomy, or break the cycle of poverty. What is needed is a two-pronged approach: In the short term, promote training, microcredit, and entrepreneurialism to create jobs. For the medium and long term, Criança Feliz.
but with the whole thing under sufferance because Presidential tenure in Brazil is, uh, fraught.

But I had a couple conversations with a Brazilian a while ago about their ability to try innovative social programs, and the thing that seemed so enviable was that one of them had recently said, mid-campaign, that evidence was approach A wasn't working and they were going to radically switch to B, and the public mostly thought that was a sensible approach. Instead of dumping the whole thing because they were wrong once, or already having entrenched A interests. Being able to change what doesn't work is so impressive in a person, let alone a polity.
posted by clew at 12:47 PM on July 1, 2018 [6 favorites]

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