Early-childhood advocates mull private investment for intervention

jself@thestate.comAugust 28, 2013 

— A South Carolina early-childhood advocacy group says a new private investment model could mean a quick expansion for a proven early-childhood intervention program and savings for the state.

The Institute for Child Success invited executives from Goldman Sachs, Chicago-based private investment firm J. B. Pritzker, and the Duke Endowment to Columbia Wednesday to discuss a new investment model called “Pay for Success” and South Carolina’s Nurse Family Partnership Program.

Under the “Pay for Success” model, private investments provide loans for governments to expand social impact programs with proven records of success -- the government repays the loans only if programs meet agreed-upon measures of success, including cost savings.

The model could be used to expand the Nurse Family Partnership program to serve 2,750 more families in three years, said Joe Waters, Vice President of the Institute for Child Success. Through the Nurse Partnership, nurses visit the homes of pregnant first-time mothers.

The Institute, along with the Duke Endowment and the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services, commissioned a study that said the expansion would require a $21.3 million loan, Waters said. Savings to the state could be used to pay back the loan to investors with added “success” payments.

“Pay for Success” loans are currently funding two projects in the United States, the investment executives said: a pre-kindergarten program in Utah and a program in New York aimed at reducing the rate of teens that return to prison after being incarcerated and released.

Reach Self at (803)771-8658

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