Research drives the engine of Invest in Kids. It keeps us on the forefront of knowledge about early child development, helps us identify and support best practices, and gives us the ability to understand the attitudes, behaviours and needs of parents in caring for our youngest children. But most of all, research gives us the means to understand the gaps between the science and what parents and professionals think, know and do in early child development.
In 1999 Invest in Kids conducted a survey of 1,643 parents to better understand the context in which young children are being raised in Canada. The survey explored how parents behave toward their children, what parents know about child development and parenting, their confidence in their parenting skills, their emotional well-being and explored differences across key subgroups of parents.
Review of Prevention/Early Intervention Research
Invest in Kids commissioned a worldwide study to evaluate the scientific rigor of over 4,000 prevention and early intervention studies. This landmark review features the top 34 studies which meet high standards of quality. It is packaged with peer reviews and recommendations for a national approach to evaluating "what works" in intervention models and programs for Canadian families with young children. This document will be of particular interest to policymakers, researchers and program planners of early childhood development initiatives.
Our long-standing involvement in Growing Together reflects our deep-seated support of best practices in prevention and early intervention. This model of services and supports for families living in economically disadvantaged communities was recognized with the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit innovation in 1995. Growing Together is unique because it brings professionals and the community together to provide early intervention programs as well as the more typical prevention programs to improve the social, emotional and intellectual development of young children in high-risk areas.
In 2001 Invest in Kids launched the Cape Breton site, in partnership with the Government of Nova Scotia and the IWK Grace Health Centre - one of only a very few rural early intervention initiatives anywhere in Canada. Cape Breton now joins other Growing Together sites in Dartmouth (also in partnership with the IWK Grace Health Centre), Montreal (in partnership with the Cote de Neige CLSC and Ste. Justine Hospital) and Toronto (in partnership with the Hincks-Dellcrest Mental Health Centre and the Toronto Department of Public Health). Growing Together provides services and supports each year to 1,500 families with young children.
WebForum 2001: A Millennium Dialogue on Early Child Development
Because of Invest in Kids' commitment to further the development of scientific knowledge about early child development we partnered with Dr. Dan Keating at the University of Toronto to hold WebForum 2001: A Millennium Dialogue on Early Child Development in November 2001. This event brought together eight of the foremost authorities in early child development from Canada, the United States and Great Britain to participate in a series of discussions, broadcast in "real time" on the internet and accessed by universities, hospitals and research institutes around the world. Topics included emotional development, societal and cultural issues, community impacts on children, brain development and competence and coping.
This event was unique because internet technology permitted the scientists to have an intimate exchange of ideas while simultaneously sharing their discussions throughout the world with colleagues in research and practice. This innovative approach sliced years from old models of knowledge dissemination. The dialogue initiated with this conference will continue with the inauguration of "Conversations on Society and Child Development," a CD/web-based interactive electronic publication designed to provide a resource and communications space for professionals, practitioners, policy makers and academics working with young children, their families and their communities. Launch date is June 2002. For more information email [email protected]