1753-2000-3-23.fm ral Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and ss BioMed CentMental Health Open AcceEditorial Early intervention: Bridging the gap between practice and academia Jörg M Fegert and Ute Ziegenhain* Address: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychotherapy, University Hospital Ulm, Steinhövelst 5, 89075 Ulm, Germany Email: Jörg M Fegert - [email protected]; Ute Ziegenhain* - [email protected] * Corresponding author Editorial Prevention and early intervention have increasingly become a focus of basic and applied research in child and adolescent psychiatry. In recent years, the emergent field of infant psychiatry has made significant progress. Many countries in the world try to invest more in prevention and intervention programs at the beginning of life, in an effort to decrease later health costs related to psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence . Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health provides an international forum for addressing important and timely issues in child mental health. In this context, we present a special section on early intervention in infants and pre- schoolers, in order to give an overview of the latest devel- opments in this field and new research and practical reports from different settings and countries. The first roots of early intervention can already be traced in Fröbel's kindergarten movement in the beginning of the 18th century. Much more recently, the best known and funded interventions include the Head Start pro- grams that were initiated in the 1960s and have lasted until today. The Head Start provided a centralized service system that began with addressing the effects of poverty experienced in early life, and eventually was extended to other high-risk groups, including disabled and abused children . Although Head Start originally focused on supporting intellectual development, the program eventu- ally aimed at promoting the development of the child "as a whole" .