Early Findings in 'Baby's First Years' Study Shows Cash Aid Helps Brain Development

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A new study called "Baby's First Years" found that reducing poverty may affect child development. (iStock)

Early results of an ongoing clinical trial found that cash aid to low-income mothers increases brain activity in babies – a finding that could help shape social policy. Called "Baby's First Years," it's the first study in the U.S. to look at the impact of poverty reduction on early childhood development.  "We don't need brain science to tell us that no child should live in poverty, " asserts Dr. Kimberly Noble, one of the neuroscientists who led the study. But while many have assumed other factors, not poverty, impact childhood development, "evidence here suggests that reducing poverty may in and of itself affect child development." We'll discuss the study and what it could mean for public policy, like President Biden’s proposed child tax credit, going forward.


Dr. Kimberly Noble, professor or neuroscience and education, Teachers College, Columbia University; director, Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development (NEED) Lab; a principal investigator on the "Baby's First Years" study

Dr. Tony Iton, senior vice president of Healthy Communities, The California Endowment; lecturer, UC Berkeley School of Public Health; former director, Alameda County Public Health Department