Mitigating the Effects of Family Poverty on Early Child Development through Parenting Interventions in Primary Care

Acad Pediatr. 2016 Apr;16(3 Suppl):S112-20. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2015.12.015.


Poverty related disparities in early child development and school readiness are a major public health crisis, the prevention of which has emerged in recent years as a national priority. Interventions targeting parenting and the quality of the early home language environment are at the forefront of efforts to address these disparities. In this article we discuss the innovative use of the pediatric primary care platform as part of a comprehensive public health strategy to prevent adverse child development outcomes through the promotion of parenting. Models of interventions in the pediatric primary care setting are discussed with evidence of effectiveness reviewed. Taken together, a review of this significant body of work shows the tremendous potential to deliver evidence-based preventive interventions to families at risk for poverty related disparities in child development and school readiness at the time of pediatric primary care visits. We also addresss considerations related to scaling and maximizing the effect of pediatric primary care parenting interventions and provide key policy recommendations.

Keywords: disparities; parenting; poverty; primary prevention; school readiness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Parenting*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Poverty*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Primary Prevention