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Early Childhood Development

The first Three Years are the most Important

The first years of life have a very significant impact on later achievement in adulthood. The brain of a small child develops at an amazing rate and neural connections initiated during that period through interaction with close caregivers remain for life.

Missed opportunities in early childhood cannot be compensated for later in life. Therefore, it is essential to ensure support for children and their parents from the earliest days. This support needs to start at the maternity hospital, because each child has the right to receive the best possible start in life.

Programmes and Activities in Croatia

Along with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, UNICEF provides special support to children born prematurely and their parents. Since this support has to continue after these children are discharged from hospital, UNICEF cooperates with home visitors, paediatricians and various experts in order to ensure that each child receives the community services it requires, especially those children with developmental difficulties.

UNICEF also provides parental support to parents and caregivers of young children. In the implementation of its programmes, UNICEF cooperates with partner NGOs, ministries, local communities and experts and parents.