The Center for Child and Family Well-being promotes the positive development and well-being of children and families by building multi-disciplinary research programs, translating research findings for application, and sharing knowledge through education, professional training and outreach to the community. Our work is guided by two key principles:
- There are critical skills and milestones children must attain at every developmental stage, from infancy through adolescence, and our work should support child and family well-being throughout childhood.
- Children develop in context, and if we are going to make a difference in children's lives then a "whole child" approach is required.
We take a “whole child” perspective on children’s well-being, recognizing the inter-dependence of children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, as they are shaped by parents, family, teachers, schools, sports coaches, and neighborhoods, as well as broader socioeconomic, political, social and cultural forces. The interactions among these factors can influence whether children become vulnerable, developing adjustment problems in the response to their experiences, or resilient, emerging well-adjusted, socially and emotionally competent.
To accomplish this, the center aims to engender multi-disciplinary research programs that produce knowledge about the development and promotion of children’s social, emotional and cognitive well-being. This research serves as the foundation on which we build dissemination and outreach activities of the center. We intend to be a resource for education, intervention, outreach and advocacy to infuse the broader community with a multi-disciplinary understanding of children’s development and to inform policies and programs in Washington and beyond.
The strategic aims of the center will be to:
- Provide support for collaborative research activities. The center will provide grant support and shared research resources to increase sponsor supported research with the aim of engendering multi-disciplinary, translational research on children’s and families’ well-being.
- Provide graduate and post-doctoral research training opportunities, including training fellowships and scholarly mentorship. Provide undergraduate students with hands-on research experiences to enhance their critical thinking skills, engender an empirical approach to understanding children and families, launching students into successful graduate school or professional settings.
- Establish and sponsor innovative degree and professional certification programs aimed at preparing students to be leaders within a broad array of disciplines that serve children and families. Continuing education programs will also be part of outreach and professional training activities.
- Produce forums, workshops, and conferences that bring academics and practitioners together to discuss pressing issues regarding children’s development, mental health, and how family life contributes to those areas.
- Improve community access to knowledge and programs for child and family well-being through public lectures, web-resources, workshops, and dissemination of information on existing professional and community programs and websites.