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From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development
this fails, to help parents become better caregivers. The quality of an adult's caregiving can be strengthened, but it is not easy to do. Because the quality of caregiving has diverse roots in the family ecology, marital relationship, and the adult's individual past, improving the quality of care requires carefully designed interventions that take these contextual features of families into consideration. It also involves reducing the stresses that impinge on parents from circumstances beyond the family unit, ranging from work-related pressures to community violence. The central and irreplaceable nature of young children's close relationships also point to the importance of evaluating the impact of programs affecting families (such as welfare reform, child care policies, and economic/child support policies) through the prism of young children's relational needs.