Most parents care deeply about their children. If that were enough, we would not see the inequalities we currently do in children’s opportunities and healthy development—children out of school, children laboring, children living in poverty. While the scale of the problems can seem overwhelming, history has shown that massive progress is possible on problems that once seemed unsolvable. Within the span of less than twenty-five years, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half, the number of children under age five that die each day has dropped by over 12,000, and the percentage of girls attending school has climbed from just three in four to over 90 percent.
National action, laws, and public policies fundamentally shape children’s opportunities. Children’s Chances urges a transformational shift from focusing solely on survival to targeting children’s full and healthy development. Drawing on never-before-available comparative data on laws and public policies in 190 countries, Jody Heymann and Kristen McNeill tell the story of what works and what countries around the world are doing to ensure equal opportunities for all children. Covering poverty, discrimination, education, health, child labor, child marriage, and parental care, Children’s Chances identifies the leaders and the laggards, highlights successes and setbacks, and provides a guide for what needs to be done to make equal chances for all children a reality.