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Early Family Support Interventions: Creating Context for Success

Abstract

Ecological or multidimensional theories are commonly used to explain the causal pathways that contribute to complex social problems. While it is generally understood that context matters for improving and strengthening parental capacity and positive child development, it is less well recognized that context also matters for the capacity of interventions, even those that are well specified and researched, to realize their full potential. Indeed, the attention being given to directing public investments to “evidence-based models” suggests that a program, once proven to work, can be successfully transplanted in a range of communities and that positive outcomes can be replicated at scale. However, rarely do these so-called proven programs replicate their impacts when taken to scale. Maximizing the impacts and viability of evidence-based programs, in many ways, depends upon the ability of local communities to facilitate collaboration across sectors and target investment around a shared mission and set of core outcomes. The purpose of this commentary is to articulate why focusing on both program and context offers policymakers a more promising pathway for achieving meaningful and sustainable improvements in a child’s well-being and healthy development.

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Correspondence to Deborah Daro.

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Daro, D. Early Family Support Interventions: Creating Context for Success. Glob Soc Welf 3, 91–96 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-016-0048-2

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Keywords

  • Early intervention
  • Prevention
  • System building
  • Community change