Age 26 cost-benefit analysis of the child-parent center early education program

Child Dev. Jan-Feb 2011;82(1):379-404. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01563.x.


Using data collected up to age 26 in the Chicago Longitudinal Study, this cost-benefit analysis of the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) is the first for a sustained publicly funded early intervention. The program provides services for low-income families beginning at age 3 in 20 school sites. Kindergarten and school-age services are provided up to age 9 (third grade). Findings from a complete cohort of over 1,400 program and comparison group participants indicated that the CPCs had economic benefits in 2007 dollars that exceeded costs. The preschool program provided a total return to society of $10.83 per dollar invested (18% annual return). The primary sources of benefits were increased earnings and tax revenues and averted criminal justice system costs. The school-age program had a societal return of $3.97 per dollar invested (10% annual return). The extended intervention program (4-6 years) had a societal return of $8.24 (18% annual return). Estimates were robust across a wide range of analyses including Monte Carlo simulations. Males, 1-year preschool participants, and children from higher risk families derived greater benefits. Findings provide strong evidence that sustained programs can contribute to well-being for individuals and society.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chicago
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / economics
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / economics
  • Crime / economics
  • Crime / prevention & control
  • Early Intervention, Educational / economics*
  • Education / economics*
  • Education, Special / economics
  • Female
  • Financing, Government / economics*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Poverty / economics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remedial Teaching / economics
  • Translational Medical Research
  • Young Adult