A new PBS documentary features pediatricians from across the country calling for a more coordinated effort to ensure better outcomes for childhood health and wellbeing.
According to a recent study by UNICEF, the U.S. ranks 26th on a list of 29 wealthy countries in terms of children's wellbeing. The six-part documentary "The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation" explores how a strong start in childhood can lead to a healthier, safer and more prosperous and equitable country, and looks at why children's well-being in the U.S. so much worse than other industrialized nations.
Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett, pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and a professor at Boston University School of Medicine, makes the case in the film to reframe the debate about what American society can do to ensure a strong start for every infant.
"I think there are so many existing resources that operate almost completely separate," she said. "We have a bunch of early childhood trains that move on different tracks. Families can get lost. They can have a hard time putting it all together."
Boynton-Jarrett said it’s important that child care and social service agencies work together in a more coordinated way to support families and make sure no child falls through the cracks. Given the research on early childhood development, she said it’s important that we turn things around.
"The first three years of life are a critical window. Enhancing the opportunities, resources and enrichment that children have during this early period has a huge payoff later on in life," Boyton-Jarrett said.
Check out a trailer for the documentary below: