Assessing Costs and Benefits of Early Childhood Intervention Programs

Overview and Applications to the Starting Early, Starting Smart Program

by Lynn A. Karoly, M. Rebecca Kilburn, James H. Bigelow, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Jill S. Cannon


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Does money invested early in a child’s life pay dividends in the form of government savings or other societal benefits as he or she grows into adulthood? Is there a best method for determining what, if any, dividends have accrued? The authors identify the conceptual and methodological issues associated with the analysis of costs and outcomes of early intervention programs and review the prior application of these methods to several programs. This background leads to recommendations regarding the application of these tools for a particular public-private early intervention program, Starting Early Starting Smart (SESS). SESS was designed to test the effectiveness of integrating behavioral health services within primary care and early childhood service settings for children from birth to age seven. The specific recommendations are framed as a set of more general guidelines for decisionmakers to make choices about early childhood intervention programs.

Table of Contents

  • Preface PDF

  • Figures PDF

  • Tables PDF

  • Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgments PDF

  • Acronyms PDF

  • Summary PDF

  • Chapter One

    Introduction PDF

  • Chapter Two

    Overview of Cost and Outcome Analysis PDF

  • Chapter Three

    Issues in Cost and Outcome Analysis of Early Childhood Intervention Programs PDF

  • Chapter Four

    Benefit-Cost Findings for Early Childhood Intervention Programs PDF

  • Chapter Five

    Applying Cost and Outcome Analysis to the Starting Early Starting Smart Program PDF

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions PDF

  • Appendix A

    Starting Early Starting Smart Grant Sites PDF

  • Appendix B

    SESS Program Acknowledgments PDF

  • Appendix C

    Mission Statements of the National Collaborators PDF

  • Bibliography PDF

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's Labor & Population.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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