- Evaluation Services
Over 200 people gathered to explore questions related to economic investments in children at the Center for Child and Family Policy’s 10th anniversary event March 29. The half-day conference included a forum of experts who discussed the benefits of early childhood education through the lens of the recession. The forum featured J. Lawrence Aber, professor of applied psychology and public policy at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; Ron Haskins, co-director of the Brookings Center on Children and Families; former N.C. Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.; and Marguerite Kondracke, president and chief executive officer of America’s Promise Alliance, who served as moderator.
Following the forum, Center researchers and students presented their work in a poster session with 25 stations showcasing research ranging from prevention of child abuse and neglect to how peer relationships are affected by digital technology. The day concluded with a standing-room-only crowd for Nobel Prize-winning economist James J. Heckman who spoke about the role of cognitive and non-cognitive skills in early childhood programs. Heckman has analyzed investments in early childhood programs and determined that the greatest gains can be made at earlier ages because the social skills learned by the very young set a pattern for acquiring important life skills later in life. Development of these non-cognitive skills such as determination, motivation, and social skills are often shaped by families and non-institutional environments and ultimately lead to success later in life.
The Center for Child and Family Policy was created in 1998 with a four part mission of promoting research, teaching, policy engagement and service, with the overarching goal of bringing knowledge and research to bear on issues of importance in public policy relative to children and their families. Today the Center has 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.