RECOMMENDATIONS FOR POLICY AND PRACTICE Commitment toTwoComplementary Agendas A Question for the Future How can society use knowledge about early childhood development to maximize the nation's human capital and ensure the ongoing vitality of its democratic institutions? A Question for the Present How can the nation use knowledge to nurture, protect, and ensure the health and well-being of all young children as an important objective in its own right, regardless of whether measurable returns can be documented in the future? Need for Greater Attention to Mental Health Needs Early childhood programs must balance their focus on literacy and numeracy skills with comparable attention to the emotional, regulatory, and social development of all children, including those with special needs. New investments must be made to address serious mental health needs in young children: •Strong linkages must be built among welfare, protective services, early intervention, and mental health agencies. •A comprehensive analysis of professional development challenges is needed, followed by significant investments in training.