Brasília / DF - For the first time, a federal government social program is scientifically followed step by step. Administered by the Ministry of Citizenship, the Criança Feliz program is subject to a continuous monitoring and evaluation process, with a focus on improving results. On Tuesday (4), the portfolio announced the carrying out of an Impact Assessment, a pioneering initiative that measures the effects of the program on the life of the assisted child, also taking into account the family and the context of life.
More than 3,000 children are being accompanied by visits by researchers, who record the development of children divided into two groups: those who are monitored by the program and those who are not. The survey is carried out in 30 municipalities in six Brazilian states: Pará, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia, Goiás and São Paulo. The study is expected to be completed in 2022.
The Minister of Citizenship, Osmar Terra, stressed that public policies must be built with scientific bases, guaranteeing the effectiveness of the measures and avoiding the waste of public money. “It is necessary to build public policies based on evidence, avoiding the waste of public money. Previous governments have spent a lot on programs that have failed precisely because they do not have science, because they govern with a closed mind,” he says.
Responsible for the National Secretariat for the Promotion of Human Development of the Ministry of Citizenship, child development specialist Ely Harasawa reinforces that research is essential to measure the impact of the program on the lives of millions of Brazilians in situations of social vulnerability. “It is essential that such a large program, which has grown so fast, maintains quality. We need to ask if we are reaching our goals, benefiting families, and the best way to measure this is through impact assessment,” he observes.
The research coordinator, professor emeritus of Epidemiology at the Federal University of Pelotas, Cesar Victora, has been working since 1970 in the areas of maternal and child health, health inequalities and impact assessment of large-scale programs. According to him, invitations to analyze ongoing programs are rare. “It is not common for invitations to accompany a program since its conception. Generally, agencies come to us when they are sure of the success of the program, so as not to take risks. In the opposite direction, Minister Osmar Terra came to me at the beginning of Criança Feliz, and we accepted this challenge together,” he explains.
Victora indicates the importance of early monitoring of public policies. “Observing the Happy Child, we can accurately assess the impacts of the program and the development of the children served. This trajectory, starting before the program and going until after it, allows us to collect very important data,” he ponders.
For the secretary of Evaluation and Information Management of the Ministry of Citizenship, Vinícius Botelho, the research meets the mission of the portfolio. “We are committed to producing scientific evidence to support the Ministry's developed projects. The data that is being collected in this research will help to reduce inequality, violence, and will serve as an inspiration for public policies in various parts of the world,” he points out.
Also participating in the announcement event were the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Brazil, Niky Fabiancic; the special secretary for Social Development of the Ministry of Citizenship, Lelo Coimbra; the CEO of the Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation, Mariana Luz; and the superintendent of Itaú Social, Ângela Dannemann.
The Happy Child promotes adequate development in early childhood, integrating actions in the areas of health, social assistance, education, justice, culture and human rights. Currently, 23 thousand trained professionals provide guidance on the development of children up to three years of age included in the Federal Government's Single Registry for Social Programs, and up to six years of age who receive the Continuous Benefit Benefit (BPC) or who are away from their families for precautionary measures.
In a pioneering initiative, the largest home visitation program for child development in the world will receive improvements based on scientific monitoring.
Original article can be found on Ministry of Citizenship here