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Casita – Early Stimulation and Social Support in Peru

If there is one thing we know for certain, it is that being born and raised in stressful situations and in vulnerable contexts with few resources can increase the risk of delays in children’s development. But how can we mitigate those negative effects Strengthening interactions between caregivers and children is the best guarantee. The objective of the Casita program is to strengthen the ties between caregivers and children whose development is at risk, as well as understand the needs of caregivers and provide them with socio-emotional support, as they are the main persons in need of support in order to provide quality care to their children. This program is an innovative intervention that responds to the needs of vulnerable communities. It involves the communities in the design of materials and sessions and incorporates the use of technologies adapted to the local context in order to share key information.


Carabayllo is a district in Lima, Peru with high levels of poverty and where families face stressful situations that often limit the capacity of caregivers to foster the development of children. This weakens the ties between caregivers and children that are fundamental for integral childhood development. Parents and caregivers often do not have quality information about the importance of interactions, games, conversations, and other activities to support early childhood development. Being born and raised under these conditions, as well as being exposed to stressful environments, can affect the physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of children and have an impact in the medium term on their learning capacity and school performance. Although there are initiatives to promote the development of the youngest children, programs are still needed that have a comprehensive focus and that foster coordination among the different actors involved (the community, parents, and those involved with health, nutrition, and education, among others).


This intervention, which is adapted to the context and evidence-based, consists of community health workers teaching and carrying out personalized activities to strengthen the development of children. The program is centered around caring for the needs of children between 6 and 24 months old at risk of development delays, as well as their principal caregivers. Caregivers and children attend weekly sessions in community centers (Casas Comunales) or health centers over three months. During the sessions they participate in fun activities such as games and stories to support the development of the children’s motor skills, language development, and physical development. In addition to the sessions at the centers, the program provides food and mental health services and helps families access government services. The program has also implemented Casita+, an intervention in which community workers show caregivers educational videos (with a focus on Universal Baby) that contain information on how to improve the quality of interactions using the motivational, affectivity, and response capacity of the children whose development is at risk.

Evaluation and Impact

An experiment was conducted using the random assignment technique. Sixty children at risk of delays in at least one dimension of their development (motor, language, social, and coordination) were assigned to either a group that received an intervention (treatment group) or to a control group. Forty-one children received Casita’s parental support intervention together with nutritional support, and 19 children received only nutritional support. The intervention was carried out between 2014 and 2015. For three months, the treatment group received parental support in 12 sessions led by community workers. The sessions focused on teaching and practicing interactions appropriate for the development level of the children and included activities such as creating toys with recycled materials. The good news: The results show that Casita improved the language, motor, and socio-emotional development of children who received the intervention with parental and nutritional support compared to the control group that received only the nutritional component.

Basic data

Target population
Girls and Boys (0-3) years
Caregiver development
Cognitive development
Language development
Socio-emotional development
Socios En Salud Sucursal Perú
Peru / Carabayllo / Lima
Type of Intervention
Psychosocial care and stimulation
Sessions in centers
Delivery mode
Group sessions