The State of the World's Children 2001

Early Childhood

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What happens during the very earliest years of a child's life, from birth to age 3, influences how the rest of childhood and adolescence unfolds. Yet, this critical time is usually neglected in the policies, programmes and budgets of countries. Drawing from reports the world over, The State of the World's Children 2001 details the daily lives of parents and other caregivers who are striving - in the face of war, poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic - to protect the rights and meet the needs of these young children. Country profiles, maps and statistical data for 193 countries are also presented.

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A necessary choice

Attention to the youngest children is most needed where it is most difficult to guarantee–in countries gripped by intractable poverty, violence and devastating epidemics, where parents’ hopes and dreams for their children are seriously countered by the realities of life. With the global economy booming, the majority of children still live in poverty. While the world embraces the hope of peace, profit-driven conflicts and ethnic battles erupt, risking the lives and psyches of children. And as HIV/AIDS destroys families, children are left to fend for themselves.

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