Integrated Early Childhood Development

About Integrated Early Childhood Development



CRS is a global leader in early childhood development, in 2020 reaching 1.8 million children and their families. Our approach integrates ECD into on-going maternal, child health, and nutrition interventions within existing national and sub-national systems. By collaborating with other service providers, we can share resources – facilities, transportation, and distribution systems – and thereby increase the efficiency of our work. By strengthening the capacity of government ministries and national service providers to implement ECD, we ensure that these programs will be around for a long time to come.




Our ECD work is evidence-based and evidence-generating. Our research partnerships with leading universities allow us to test and learn from our innovations. Thanks to experimental and quasi-experimental studies, we have recently shown that:

  1. Our lay counselor model is ethical, effective, and of high quality

  2. Participating in our ECD programs is associated with lower rates of post-partum depression

  3. Our integrated programs are effective at changing health and parenting behaviors, resulting in healthier children





Podcast: The Right to Laugh

Love, play, care and laughter are ingredients that make up a well-rounded childhood. Hear how Catholic Relief Services is helping families on the margins—of violence, hunger and disease—raise healthy and happy children.

Click here to view the podcast transcript and other episodes in CRS’ podcast series.



CRS partners with institutions of higher education to conduct iECD-related research. Collaborations with Duke University and Emory University have published the following articles in peer-reviewed journals.





Links to Resources

Early childhood – the period between conception and three years of age – is a crucially important period of life. Young children’s health and nutrition, the care they receive, and the way they are parented, affect not just their childhood wellbeing, but their lifelong physical and mental health and development.



To learn more, contact [email protected].