As a field, scholars and practitioners in psychiatry, neurology, pediatrics, psychology, public health and related disciplines are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of early childhood development (ECD) in setting the stage for the emergence of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders later in life. Beyond psychopathology, it is also clear that events early in a child's life can directly impact their physical health and the degree to which a child is able to reach her or his full developmental and economic potential. Evidence is emerging that family- and community-based ECD services are cost-effective and have the potential to contribute to social cohesion and peacebuilding in both the short and long term – from one generation to the next. Given the importance of this topic, we need to engage government officials and policy-makers around the globe, as partners to invest in ECD services, using a multi-sectorial approach. It will also be critical to pursue ongoing research on the impact of ECD services as well as how best to promote resilience and well-being in children and families.