Menu Close

Research reports on early education from NIEER and outside organizations

Research Reports

Do Effects of Early Child Care Extend to Age 15 Years? Results From the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development


May 1, 2010
OutcomesQuality and Curriculum

The latest report from the NICHD child care study that has tracked more than 1,000 kids from birth to age 15 finds benefits of high-quality child care last into the teenage years.

Do Effects of Early Child Care Extend to Age 15 Years? Results From the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development

by Deborah Lowe Vandell, Jay Belsky, Margaret Burchinal, Laurence Steinberg, Nathan Vandergrift, and the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (May 2010)

This report from the NICHD child care study found that, although the effects were small, teenagers who had the higher quality care did better academically than those given low-quality care or no care outside the home. The study also found that the more time children spent in child care outside the home, the more they were likely to engage in risky or impulsive behaviors at age 15 regardless of the quality of early care they had received. Those effects were also relatively small, and benefits did not differ between advantaged and disadvantaged children. The study’s finding of persistent effects is consistent with the results of NIEER’s meta-analysis of the entire literature, but also reinforces the notion that intensive educational programs are required if preschool is to make a substantive difference in the poor achievement of disadvantaged children.

The study appears in Child Development.

View the full report