- Evaluation Services
The concept of the Center began in the 1990s when a small group of Duke faculty members began meeting to discuss how they could synergize their mutual interests in research in child development to have a broader impact on society. These faculty members came from diverse departments and disciplines, including John Coie (psychology), Phil Costanzo (psychology), Phil Cook (public policy and economics), Jane Costello (psychiatry), and Alan Kerckhoff (sociology), among others. They approached William Chafe, then dean of the faculty of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, who had the financial resources to invest and the vision to understand the potential contribution that a center with this kind of focus could make.
An external search was conducted and Ken Dodge, a clinical and developmental psychologist from Vanderbilt who had earned his Ph.D. at Duke in 1978, was hired as the Center’s first Director.
Bill Chafe's broad and bold charge to the Center was Make a difference! Thirteen years later, the Center does just that with more than $7 million in yearly grant funding and 70 employees, including researchers, database analysts, interviewers, and project coordinators, plus nearly 40 affiliated faculty fellows. Faculty and staff work together to discover and evaluate strategies to improve outcomes for children and families and to share their discoveries with policymakers and public agencies.
More details about the Center's history, our Blueprint for Success, and integrated system of research, teaching, policy engagement, and service addressing issues of child and family policy are available in the booklet entitled "Making a Difference: The First 10 Years."