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Evidence based practices

This section features practices that have demonstrated their effectiveness through rigorous research. These practices have been reviewed by a team of experts and summarised in a way that is easy to understand.

Find a practice (within the 'Evidence based practices'):

The practices can be also searched along the three policy pillars of the Recommendation for Investing in Children:

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1. Outcomes of the 2006-2007 parental leave policy change in Germany
Germany, 2007 - still operating

This study investigates how a 2007 change in parental leave policy in Germany has affected return- to-work and labour market outcomes of mothers of new-born children. In January 2007 the German parental leave benefit system changed from being means tested to earnings-tested. In practice this meant that before the reform families received a means tested transfer of 300 euro/month for a maximum of 24 months; after the reform this amount depended on the earnings of the parent prior to birth, and was paid of a maximum of 12 to 14 months. The study described here investigates the outcome of this change by comparing 993 families who fell under the new system because their child was born in the first quarter of 2007, with 851 families who did not fall under the new system because their child was born in the last quarter of 2006. All families were selected from of a random 1% sample of the population living in Germany (the German Microsensus). The two groups were compared on the employment status of the mothers in the first and second year after birth. An additional analysis estimated what the effect would have been if additional child care for very young children would have been available at low costs. Read more...

2. Outcomes of parental leave policy changes in Austria
Austria, 1990 - present

Three changes in parental leave relating to the length of leave and the length of time to which parents were entitled to benefits were implemented in Austria in 1990, 1996 and 2000. The first policy change, implemented on July 1, 1990, extended the maximum duration of both cash benefits and job protection from the child’s first to the child’s second birthday. The second policy change, implemented on July 1, 1996, reduced the maximum duration of cash benefits to the date when the child turns 18 months old, keeping job protection unchanged. The third policy change, implemented on July 1, 2000, increased the maximum duration of cash benefits to the date when the child turns 30 months old, again keeping job protection unchanged. Read more...

3. Lifestart Parental Programme
Ireland, United Kingdom, 2008 - still operating

Lifestart is a structured child-centred programme of information and practical activity for parents of children aged from birth to five years of age, conceived by the Lifestart Foundation. It is delivered to parents in their own homes by trained, paid Family Visitors and it is offered to parents regardless of social, economic or other circumstances.  

Every parent who joins the Lifestart programme receives a monthly issue based on the Growing Child curriculum ( and a 30-60 minute home visit from a Lifestart family visitor. Together the issues of the Growing Child and the visit provide age-specific information on what parents can do with their child and what developmentally appropriate materials they might use. The home visit also offers the opportunity to discuss progress during the last month and focus attention according to the family’s needs. The Lifestart programme is based on a logic model, which depicts how the programme is thought to work (please refer to the Lifestart logic model in Miller et al, 2015, p.15). The programme was implemented in Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland.

According to evidence submitted to the European Platform for Investing in Children User Registry, the programme costs £650 to implement in an urban setting and £750 in a rural setting. Read more...

4. SolSano
Spain, 1999 - still operating

SolSano is a health education programme for sun safety implemented in primary schools in Spain. The programme has been in operation since 1999. It targets children in grades 1 and 2 (aged 6-8). The overall aim of the programme is to educate children about sun safety in order to teach children to enjoy the sun while reducing its harmful effects. The programme consists of a guide for teachers, an activity notebook for students, and a pamphlet with information on sun protection activities for children directed to their parents. Read more...

5. VoorZorg
Netherlands, 2004 - still operating

VoorZorg is a home visitation programme in the Netherlands which has been adapted for the Dutch health context from the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) programme in the United States (Olds et al. 1986). It is designed to assist young pregnant women of low socio-economic status in reducing risk factors for foetal and child development as well as reduce risk of child abuse. The programme consists of approximately 10 home visits of 60-90 minutes delivered to the young mothers during pregnancy, 20 visits during the child’s first year of life and 20 visits during the child’s second year of life. Home visits are delivered by a specially trained and certified VoorZorg nurse. Read more...