Early childhood programs for economically disadvantaged children are comprehensive interventions designed to help prevent school failure and social difficulties by promoting healthy child and family development. Eight principles of early childhood interventions were reviewed to highlight the research-based characteristics of programs that promote long-term effects on children's development. Effective programs not only enhance children's scholastic development but also can reduce the need for later remedial education and human welfare services. The effects of the Chicago Child-Parent Center, a large-scale early intervention program, were described to illustrate the importance of designing and implementing programs that have all the features of programs demonstrating long-term success for children and families.
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The Chicago Child Parent Center and Expansion Program (CPC) is a center-based intervention that provides comprehensive educational-support and family-support services to economically disadvantaged children and their parents. The CPCs were created in 1967 to serve families in high-poverty neighborhoods that were not being served by Head Start or other similar programs. It is the second oldest (after Head Start) federally funded early childhood program in the United States. The CPCs are funded through Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Since 1977, the primary-grade portion of the program (expansion program) has been funded by Title I through the State of Illinois. The Chicago Public Schools operate 24 CPCs; 20 have services from preschool to third grade and 4 have services only in preschool and first and second grades. The major rationale of the program is that scholastic success will be enhanced by providing a school-stable learning environment during the preschool and primary-grade years in which parents are active participants in their children’s education.
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