Child’s World America has partnered with California Newsreel to provide our members and community with access to the series “The Raising Of America”.

The Documentary Series

The Raising of America Series is a five-part documentary series that explores the question: Why are so many children in America faring so poorly? What are the consequences for the nation’s future? How might we, as a nation, do better? The series investigates these questions through different lenses: What does science tell us about the enduring importance of early life experiences on the brain and body? What it is like to be a parent today? And what policies and structures help or hinder the raising of healthy, happy and compassionate children? The Signature Hour covers all three of these issues. The four subsequent episodes each dive in for a closer look.

What is the Series About?

Recent studies underscore repeatedly how a child’s earliest surroundings and interactions shape the developing brain, building the foundations for life-long emotional, intellectual and even physical health and development. Exposure to a nurturing or adverse environment in the early years affects how we think, feel and relate to others as we age, our capacities for empathy, impulse control and even love.

When parents are pressed for time, money and resources, their babies pay the price. Child well-being in the U.S. has fallen to 26th out of 29 rich nations. An increasing number of children grow up with learning, behavioral and physical health challenges. But our kids’ health is not all that’s at risk, researchers argue. By squeezing young families and under-investing in early childhood we are also under-developing America. If we want children to do better in school and in life—and the nation to prosper—we can’t wait until they enter kindergarten.

The studies are many, they are strong and they are persuasive. Yet little or no popular media until now have translated these scientific findings into a compelling new story capable of changing the way parents, practitioners, policy makers and the public think about society’s responsibilities and interest in these first crucial years. The conventional default explanations of child development—good vs. bad parents, genetics and cultural dysfunction—still predominate. Perhaps not coincidentally, little progress has been made in improving outcomes for America’s children.

The Raising of America seeks to spark a first-ever national conversation which asks: what can be done to better assure the conditions all babies and young children need to thrive? Will the U.S. squander its own future, or will it invest in its youngest children and their families?

About the Episodes


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The Signature Hour (58 min)

The Signature Hour interweaves discoveries from neuroscience with the stories of families and communities struggling to provide the nurturing environments all babies and young children need to thrive—while too often hindered by social conditions that put their children on low developmental paths. It reveals how stressors on parents can drip down on their infants and young children, literally altering the wiring of their developing brains with enduring effects. Why are so many children faring so poorly in the richest nation on the planet? How might we do better?

Full Synopsis | Transcript | Credits



Ep2 Once Upon A Time

When Childcare for All Wasn’t Just a Fairy Tale (32 min)

Imagine how things might be different today if high-quality early care and education had been available to every family that wanted it for the past four decades. It almost happened!

Full Synopsis | Transcript | Credits




(32 min)Ep3 Are We Crazy

Studies show that investing in high-quality early care and education pays for itself in many ways and many times over. So, why aren’t we investing?

Full Synopsis | Transcript | Credits




Ep4 Wounded PlacesConfronting Childhood PTSD in America’s Shell-Shocked Cities (42 min)

Too many of our children, especially children of color living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, have endured trauma and show symptoms that look very much like PTSD—except there is no post. How might they and their neighborhoods heal?

Full Synopsis | Transcript | Credits




How the Outside Gets Under the Skin (35 min)Ep5 DNA Is Not Destiny

Discoveries in the exciting new field of epigenetics suggest that fetal and early child environments literally become part of us. They alter not our genes (they’re fixed) but the epigenetic volume controls which switch genes on and off—with enduring consequences for behaviors and mental and physical health.

Full Synopsis | Transcript | Credits