There is a persistent and ever widening divide in our country between those who have plenty and those who suffer poverty. Nowhere are the effects of that divide more harmful, and often irreversible, than in the lives of the children born into poverty. It is in the experiences of those early years, from conception through age three, when the brain develops to 80 percent of its capacity, that a course for long-term well-being is set.

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The 2011 holiday season is here and – for many families – it brings higher heating bills, worries about gift expenses, and disrupted schedules. Too often, this is a recipe for added household stress, with negative consequences for the brain development and well-being of young children.

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