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Centre for Child Health and Development

The “Centro per la Salute del Bambino ONLUS” - CSB (Centre for Child Health and Development) is a NGO established in 1999 with the aim of promoting research, advocate for policy, develop and implement programs and interventions for child health, development and wellbeing, with a multidisciplinary, cross-sector approach and a focus on disadvantaged families and communities.

The CSB operates

a) at national level, in all Italian Regions, through an network of public (Government and Regional authorities) and private partners and

b) at international level, through collaborations with UN Agencies (WHO and Unicef), NGOs, Professional Associations and Foundations. 

CSB main activities are organized along three programs

NpL - Nati per leggere

(Born to read)

has represented for a long time the core business of the CSB: the program started back in 1999, in collaboration with the “Associazione Italiana Biblioteche” – AIB (Italian Association of Librarians) and the “Associazione Culturale Pediatri” – ACP (Italian Cultural Association of Pediatricians).

NpL promotes reading to children as a family practice since the first year of life through local multi-sector networks involving health professionals, librarians, educators, civil society associations, municipalities, regional governments and volunteer readers. As such, is a typical ECD initiative, targeting young children from birth through their parents. NpL was awarded several national and international prizes and acknowledgements.

NpM - Nati per la Musica

(Born for the music)

is a program quite similar to NpL in its philosophy. It promotes early musical experience as part of family routines, since pregnancy. NpM is also based on large multi-professional collaboration and networks and operates country-wide in Italy. Eraly exposure to music foster motro cognitive and emotional development and strengthens family ties.

Nutrire la mente – fin da piccoli

is a broad initiative to promote early nurturing care for ECD. It encompasses operational research, advocacy, development of information materials, implementation of early interventions. The project “Un villaggio per crescere” started in February 2018 is establishing centers for young children and their caregivers in 10 disadvantaged communities in 9 different cities and a rural area. The project is aimed at reaching at least 4000 families.
CSB is the leading agency within a partnership of over 30 public and private-non profit entities. The project has a strong evaluation component ensured by external experts. Within the NlM CSB has addressed the issues of early exposure of young children to Digital Technologies, by conducting epidemiological research on Italian families’ practices regarding DTs, issuing guidelines and publishing information materials. Annually since 2015, the CSB organizes a national event regarding infancy (child care, early learning of science and maths, plurilingualism and, for 2018, emotions) have been the key themes so far. Child professionals and families are both targeted with scientific debates, laboratories and workshops.
An innovative aspect of CSB’s work is the development and implementation of multi-professional training modules, involving educators, librarians, health professionals and volunteers. The training modules (duration from 8 to 12 hours) are based on the principle of adult learning, problem solving training and formative evaluation. CSB runs every year from 80 to 100 courses through national pools of trainers.


to the CSB Council (summary) and annual plan 2018



Nati per Leggere

The program, started in 1999 to promote reading to babies since the first months of life, has progressively scaled up to reach about 25% of Italian families. Training courses (multidisciplinary for all child professionals; for health professionals; for educators; for volunteers; for librarians; and ToT) in 2017 increased up to over 80 2-day courses. The collaboration with the governmental center for book and reading has continued with 20 courses realized in five different regions. A first map of the coverage has been produced and presented at the annual meeting of regional focal points. The number of volunteers of the program is now above 5000. Our Centre is considering adding new focal points to the existing ones to strengthen activities particularly in the south. A new publication (Guide to reading for parents with young children) has been produced specifically for families with young children with support by the Centre for the Book and Reading (CEPELL). 

Plans for 2018

- Increase training activity particularly in South Italy regions 
- Revise information materials and leaflets

- Confirm and update the agreement with the other main partners
- Strengthen the focal point network

- Lobby for new legislation for reading promotion in the first years 

Nati per la Musica

The program has increased its coverage and the majority of regions are now represented. The program has adhered to the national “Tavolo 0-6” for the promotion of music in the first years of life. From June 2017 an accreditation system has been established for the local chapters of the program and we have received already about 30 requests.

Plans for 2018

Strengthen collaboration with organizations sharing the same objectives
- Lobby for new legislation for music education in childcare services in the first years 

Nutrire la mente (ECD)

We have prepared the second edition of the booklet “Nutrire la mente” (Nurturing the mind of our children) for parents. ECD courses have been made in Naples (ToT) which has subsequently generated 7 ECD courses for health professionals. Another ToT has been realized for the Health Authority of Modena. Two more courses have been made in Campania and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Several other training and sensitization events have been realized all over the country. 
The Centre has contributed to the Ministry of Health working group on the first 1000 days. The Centers’ President, Giorgio Tamburlini, has contributed to the WHO/ UNICEF/ WB document “Nurturing care for early childhood development”.

Plans for 2018

- Develop an indicator system to assess local administrations’ investment in infancy

- Collaborate with DORS (a public-funded center for evidence-based policy) to develop a policy brief on ECD

- Continue the collaboration with the Nurturing Care Advisory Board

- Launch the NCF document in Italy in partnership with other organizations

- Publish the revised edition of the booklet “Nutrire la mente” for child professionals.

Children and digital technologies

We have carried out and published a country-wide survey on utilization of DT in the first years of life. The research has raised a lot of interest in the Italian media (both radio, newspapers and social). A special section of the journal for parents UPPA has been prepared and published in November.

Plans for 2018

- Disseminate the Center’s document and recommendations regarding the use of digital technologies in the first years of life 

- Incorporate the new evidence into training activities for child professionals

Festival Fin da Piccoli

Our annual scientific event has been focused on plurilingualism and it was held in Triest in September.

This event has been covered by the main Italian newspapers (La Repubblica) with a hole page and requests for contribution to a series of courses and events on the theme have been received and are being met. 

Plans for 2018

Organize the 4th event on the theme of emotions development and regulation

Un villaggio per crescere (A village to thrive)

CSB’s application to the Italian Fund Against Educational Poverty has been successful and the revised budget has been definitely approved in September 2017 for a total sum of 2,063,000 € for the period February 1st 2018 to January 31st 2020. The Fund is aimed at improving accessibility and quality of early child education (ECE) services in economically and socially disadvantaged communities, where ECE services are difficult to access or not available. The Fund’s overarching aim was translated into the “villaggio”’s programmatic features. The design of the project was informed by a children’s rights approach, the early interventions concept and by the ecological theory applied to child development and based on the evidence of long lasting benefits of quality parental time and development-focused practices. It offers to parents and children in disadvantaged communities the opportunity to be introduced and directly engaged in a combination of activities, all of which have been proven as effective in fostering child development and parent-to-child relationships (such as reading, play, music, gardening, art…), and with examples and hints about how to replicate these good and effective practices at home.

The project will be active since 2018 in 10 different communities in 10 municipalities and planned to reach and engage up to 4,000 families by the end of 2020. Each center will operates for an average of 10-12 hours per week, served by 3 to 4 educators specifically selected and trained in developmental focused practices, communication with parents, etc. Strategies to reach out for families and ensure retainment/fidelization include the engagement of the whole community, home visits, close collaboration with maternity hospitals and PHC centres, education sector and social sector, use of social networks and networking across all sectors, including public, private non profit and private for profit.

The project also intends to respond to the international call for testing innovative approaches to nurturing care. It is also part of an international network of projects targeting at risk families with young children and sharing a common M&E framework, supported by an international Foundation (The Human Safety Net). Rigorous independent (external) evaluation is part of the project as well as plans for ensuring sustainability over time.

Plans for 2018

- Get the project started with particular attention paid to developing a sound monitoring and evaluation design in collaboration with the external evaluating team

- Take the opportunity of participating to the Human Safety Network for projects targeting families for sharing experience and evaluation methods and design

Innovations in maternal and child health in Pernambuco, Brazil

The Centre is implementing an ambitious project, funded by the Brazil’s National Centre for Research aimed at improving the quality of hospital and community care for mothers and young children. The community component is based on training and technical guidance to community health workers to improve the quality of their work in disadvantaged communities of the city of Recife and has specific focus on introducing ECD components in maternal and child care.

Plans for 2018

Finalize the project, disseminate and publish results


In 2017 the Center has contributed to articles and scientific papers. Among them:

- La lettura in famiglia. Guida alla diffusione delle buone pratiche da 0 a 6 anni 
(Guide to reading for parents with young children)
- Provenzano A. Literacy e bilinguismo. Medico e Bambino 2017;36:399-402 
(Literacy and bilingualism)

- Tamburlini G, Balbinot A. Bambini e tecnologia, Un Pediatra Per Amico, 6/2017. 
(Children and digital technologies)

- Cattaneo A,Charpak N,De Leon-Mendoza S, Moxon S, Tamburlini G, Bergh AM. Report on an international workshop on kangaroo mother care: lessons learned and a vision for the future. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2018; 18: 170. 

- Foote N and Tamburlini G . Accelerating the effective scaling of Kangaroo Mother Care and related interventions: lessons from 20 years of experience. Early Childhood Matters 2017, 50-56.

Plans for 2018

Finalize the article on effects of maternal and childcare time on child development: a review of the evidence 


Budget and fundraising

The 2017 budget (enclosed as a separate file) has been satisfactory and for the first year went above 500,000 € with a positive balance of 61k. It has to be underlined that the total amount of investments which the Centre is de facto promoting is about ten times as much the budget of our organization, as the most of the funds are directly channeled to local organizations for the implementation of the programs Nati per Leggere, Nati per la Musica and others. The main revenues have been from: a) service agreements with public administrations (mainly for training and development of materials) 40%; b) sales of materials 30%; c) voluntary contributions 20%. We have been contacted by donors and several hypotheses are being considered for parenting programs to be developed with support from national and international foundations.

Plans for 2018

- Finalize ongoing contacts with potential funding agencies

- Strengthen initiatives for increasing voluntary contributions

Human resources

Currently the staff is composed by 9 persons, five of which are working in Trieste, two in Milan and two in Naples. With the start of the project “Un Villaggio per crescere” and with the increasing activities for Nati per Leggere it will be necessary to hire three or four more staff to cover for the increased activities included management and administration. It should be remembered that in order to offer better working conditions since 2015 most of our staff has a permanent contract which also implies that cost will increase in 2018 due to expiring of fiscal benefits after three years.

Plans for 2018

Select and hire new staff with specific focus on administration and management, focal point in Sicily, monitoring and evaluation


The strategy to become “top of mind” in the media over the theme of ECD focused parenting practices has produced important results in 2017, as the Centre is increasingly requested of opinions in the main Italian newspapers as well as in publications for parents and for child professionals (e.g. Insieme, Io e il mio Bambino, Bimbi sani e belli etc).

Plans for 2018

- Consider strengthening the communication team with specific focus on the new project ( Un Villaggio per crescere)

- Finalize the development of the new interactive website which will be smartphone-friendly, with specific sections for families and professionals



CSB Onlus
Via Nicolò de Rin 19
34143 Trieste - ITALIA

CF/P.IVA 00965900327


Tel: +39 040 3220447 
Fax: +39 040 306839