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Increasingly, scholars and policymakers are calling for programs that take a preventive approach to child abuse and neglect, rather than our current tendency to respond only after a crisis. There are significant social and economic arguments supporting this shift. The Nurse-Family Partnership, developed by David Olds and discussed in this symposium, illustrates how specific investments in family functioning can lower rates of child abuse and neglect, leading to a host of positive outcomes for children and society, from greater educational attainment to less involvement in the criminal justice system. Thinking about child well-being more broadly, the Nobel laureate James Heckman has demonstrated the relative value of preventive programs, establishing that targeted interventions that enrich a very young child’s environment are more cost effective than investing in schools and far more cost effective than investing in remedial programs for older adolescents and young adults.


Family Law | Law | Maternal and Child Health