What implementation evidence matters: scaling-up nurturing interventions that promote early childhood development

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018 May;1419(1):5-16. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13720.


Research in early childhood development (ECD) has established the need for scaling-up multisectoral interventions for nurturing care to promote ECD, for improved socioeconomic outcomes for sustainable societies. However, key elements and processes for implementation and scale-up of such interventions are not well understood. This special series on implementation research and practice for ECD brings together evidence to inform effectiveness, quality, and scale in nurturing care programs; identifies knowledge gaps; and proposes further directions for research and practice. This paper frames the dimensions and components fundamental to the understanding of implementation processes for nurturing care interventions, factors for improving implementation of interventions, and strategies to scale by embedding interventions in delivery systems. We discuss emerging issues in implementation research for ECD, including (1) the role of context in adaptation and implementation, (2) standardized reporting of implementation research, (3) the importance of feasibility studies to inform scale-up and capacity building, (4) fidelity and program quality improvement, and (5) intervention integration into existing systems. Effective implementation of nurturing care interventions is at the heart of achieving positive developmental outcomes for young children. It is pivotal to adapt and implement these interventions based on evidence for high impact, especially in low-resource settings.

Keywords: early childhood development; implementation evidence; nurturing care; scale-up.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Capacity Building / organization & administration
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Program Development