Recent authoritative evidence suggests that an estimated 200 million children under five fail to achieve their developmental potential due to factors including poor health and nutrition and the lack of stable high quality care. A significant number of the world's children today lack the basic rights to health, development and protection. In light of such statistics, early childhood services for young children have expanded around the world. The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Policy draws critical attention to policy in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) its relationship to service provision and its impact on the lives of children and families. The perspectives of leading academics and researchers from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Australasia and Asia have been arranged around five key themes: Part 1: The Relationship Between Research, Policy And Practice: Country Case Studies Part 2: Equitable Early Childhood Services: Intervention to Improve Children's Life Chances Part 3: Extending Practice: The Role of Early Childhood Services In Family Support Part 4: Participation, Rights and Diversity Part 5: Future Directions for Early Childhood Policy This handbook is essential reading for practitioners, stakeholders and others committed to working within early years services to achieve an awareness of policy and its implications for services and practice.