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Government Assistance Linked to Better Child Development
Date:3/7/2008

lives.

"Even the purchase of additional books or toys for the children -- something we often take for granted in this country -- could help stimulate cognitive development," Fernald said.

"Also, the additional cash could have the psychological benefit of taking some of the pressure off the mothers. These are families who are at the bottom 20th percentile in Mexico for household income. When relieved of the constant worry about not providing enough food for their children, mothers may feel less depressed and may be better able to interact with their children."

In 1997, the Mexican government became the first to offer a conditional cash transfer program, which now includes more than 5 million families and has been replicated in more than 20 developing nations.

Last year, New York City launched the first conditional cash transfer program in a developing country. It's already distributed more than $740,000 to more than 1,400 families who've met specific criteria related to education, health, and workforce participation and training.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about child development.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of California, Berkeley, news release, March 6, 2008


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