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Publication Title:

Pay for Success Financing for Early Childhood Programs: A Path Forward


Megan Golden
Nancy Vorsanger

Date: January 2014

Publication Type: Issue Briefs & Policy Reports

Policy Area: Pay for Success

Page Count: 12

Publication Excerpt:

We can do better for our children. Far too many endure preventable health or behavior problems. They are not prepared for school and do not graduate with the tools they need for successful careers. Programs that can effectively prevent these problems reach only a fraction of the children who could benefit, and they struggle constantly for funding to continue, let alone grow.

The Institute for Child Success (ICS) has dared to imagine a different future: one in which every high-risk mother in an under-resourced state learns to read to her child every day, to use effective parenting when a child misbehaves, and to provide healthy food and exercise; a future in which high-quality medical care, childcare, and early education are the norm. Could we reach a new normal, in which we have robust early childhood programs and fewer children in special education, foster care, and prison? We believe that we can, and that Pay for Success financing can help us get there.

Pay for Success (PFS, also known as outcome-based financing) is attracting increasing attention from many quarters. In PFS, funding for programs is based at least in part on their achieving specific, predetermined outcomes. In one popular type of PFS financing (also called a Social Impact Bond, or SIB) private investors put up capital for proven interventions and government pays them back, after an impartial evaluator finds evidence that the interventions are working.

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