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June 2000Vol. 1, No. 4Congress Convenes Research Briefing on Early Childhood Intervention Programs

Three renowned scholars discussed the nature and policy implications of the latest academic research on early childhood intervention programs at the U.S. Capitol on May 10th.

Co-sponsored by the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means and the Joint Center for Poverty Research, the briefing centered on new brain research. These findings suggest that early childhood, especially between the ages of birth to 3 years, provides a unique window of opportunity to enhance development. Presenters debated the benefits and costs associated with early intervention programs targeted to at-risk children, such as Head Start and experimental preschool programs.

The researchers and their topics of presentation were as follows:

  • Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University Developmental Psychologist, explained the structure of early childhood programs, the nature of their short-term impacts on child development, and provided an assessment of early childhood as the optimal point of intervention.
  • Janet Currie, UCLA Economist, focused on the long-term impacts of early interventions, such as academic attainments as well as program costs and benefits.
  • Douglas J. Besharov, Professor at University of Maryland School of Public Affairs and Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, addressed policy conclusions drawn from the research literature.

To download a briefing packet, visit the website of the Joint Center for Policy Research at:

To request a hard copy of the materials, email JCPR at:

Related Item

For a related article about a new glossary and website on brain development, see "New Glossary Defines Brain Development" in the April issue of the Children's Bureau Express.