Every year, billions of dollars are spent across the world in the name of improving outcomes for children and young people. Yet in many cases, very little is known about the actual costs underlying programs and interventions. Cost data are critical in decisions like implementation, alteration, reduction, and expansion of programs. However, the barriers decisionmakers face in accessing useful and trustworthy data can be difficult to overcome.
On June 29, the costing and finance team at the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings hosted an online event and launched the Childhood Cost Data initiative and accompanying Childhood Cost Calculator (C3). Based on almost a decade of research, C3 is an online, user-friendly tool for completing cost analysis of child and youth-related interventions with broad use across different sectors, including education, health, nutrition, and more. This global public good is available for free use and enables policymakers, funders, implementers, and researchers to use quality, consistent costing data in decisionmaking. Emily Gustafsson-Wright, a senior fellow at CUE, began the event with an introduction to Brookings’s research on costing and the Childhood Cost Calculator. Representatives from three pilot countries shared their experiences using the tool, followed by a panel discussion on costing needs and challenges moderated by Nonresident Senior Fellow Tamar Manuelyan Atinc.