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Economic analysis of human capital?the abilities and skills a person brings to community and work force?suggests that investing in early childhood programs is much more cost-effective than dollars spent intervening later in life. Even with increasing knowledge of the importance of early intervention programs, there still appears to be a mental divide separating the prenatal and birth period and infancy. Programs that begin during infancy or later may not address the fundamental origins of the increasing issues we face regarding our children. The key to reverse this cascade of poor outcomes and to dramatically improve human capital and human potential is to bring innovative and comprehensive efforts to support families during the primary period of human development?pre-conception through baby?s first postnatal year. This paper introduces 12 guiding principles to align the re-visioning and strategic planning for funding, policy-making, research, professional education and training, and parenting practices. First action steps to maximize human potential and human capital from a prenatal and perinatal psychology perspective are addressed.


Kilburn, M. R. & Karoly, L. A. (2008). What does economics tell us about early childhood? RAND Corporation research brief series. Retrieved as pdf 10/24/08 from

The science of early childhood development: Closing the gap betiveen what we know and what we do. (2007). Executive Summary. The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, Retrieved 10/24/08 from

JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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