Mid-term impact of access to childcare: Rio de Janeiro’s evidence
Latin America and the Caribbean has made major strides to expand early childhood services coverage, and Brazil is a good example. As part of its early childhood development policy, over the last decade the country has expanded access to Creches, the public healthcare centers for children aged 0-3, which focus on the disadvantaged sectors of the population. However, it remains to be seen if these efforts are having the desired effects on childhood development in the medium and long term. This project seeks to answer that question, focusing on understanding the middle and long-term effects of Creches in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time in the world, an experimental assessment of the mid-term impacts of a large-scale public nurseries program is conducted, evaluating the effects that early access to a Creche have on children’s school performance 10 years down the road. The evidence provided by this project will be relevant for discussions taking place in the region about policies aimed at expanding coverage of this type of service.
While the region has seen a major expansion of nursery services, there is scarce evidence of their benefits for children in the medium and long term. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, previous analyses based on household surveys suggest that access to good quality centers has a big short-term impact on children and their families, particularly the most vulnerable ones.
On the other hand, although in Brazil basic education is universal and the country has high quality records at municipal, state and national levels, unfortunately there is no existent administrative identifier to link individual children records with information relative to different moments in time. In other words, while the information does exist, the current registry system does not make it possible to conduct a follow-up of children in order to determine whether access to Creches at an early age translates into better school performance in the future.
This project took up the challenge of analyzing the effects of Creche attendance on children’s school performance 10 years down the road. This unique analysis organized school records of children who were 0-3 years old by December 2007 (when they took part in a Creche-allocation sweepstakes) and managed to identify in the administrative records the school results of children who now are between 9 and 12 years of age. This data will help conduct the first ever evaluation of the medium-term impact of a large-scale public nursery program.
Evaluation and Impact
In process of analysis. The impact of having attended a public nursery between 0-3 years of age on basic education school performance will be evaluated. Information assessed includes test scores, grade repetition, early dropout, and behavior problems at school.