Child Well-Being

Child Well-Being

From our start more than 30 years ago, Child Trends has studied and reported on the well-being of children and youth. Our work in this area influences policies and practices in the U.S. and around the world. For us, child well-being is multi-dimensional and best measured over time. We look at positive and negative indicators that assess well-being across outcomes, behaviors and processes. We also review indicators that cover children of all ages from birth to their transition to adulthood. Our aim is to provide child well-being indicators that are easily and readily understood by policymakers, practitioners, and the public.

You can search our DataBank by topic and by the stages of children’s lives to examine trends and statistics measuring child well-being.

Featured Projects

Featured Publications

Parents Behind Bars: What Happens to Their Children?

Oct 2015 | David Murphey; Mae Cooper

Children do not often figure in discussions of incarceration, but new research finds more than five million U.S. children have had at least one parent in prison at one time or another—about three times higher than earlier estimates that included only children with a parent currently incarcerated. This report uses the National Survey of Children’s Health to examine both the prevalence of parental incarceration and child outcomes associated with it.

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Are the Children Well? A Model and Recommendations for Promoting the Mental Wellness of the Nation's Young People

Jul 2014 | David Murphey; Brandon Stratford; Rachel A. Gooze; Elizabeth Bringewatt; Mae Cooper; Rachel Carney; Angela Rojas

The mental health challenges our country's young people face call for shifting the focus of policy and practice from illness, to promotion of wellness and flourishing. This report argues that the distinction between mental and physical health is artificial and harmful. We consider the evidence for interventions that can improve mental wellness at multiple levels.

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Positive and Protective Factors in Adolescent Well-Being

Jan 2014 | Laura Lippman; Renee Ryberg; Mary A. Terzian; Kristin Anderson Moore; Jill Humble; Hugh McIntosh

In this chapter of the "Handbook of Child Well-Being" (starting on page 2823 of the book), the authors posit that research on positive and protective factors is essential to a balanced, comprehensive approach to the study of child and adolescent well-being. Human development encompasses both positive and negative developmental processes, and to focus solely on the negative is scientifically inappropriate.

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Indices of Child Well-Being and Developmental Contexts

Jan 2014 | Kristin Anderson Moore; David Murphey; Tawana Bandy; Elizabeth K. Lawner

In this chapter of the "Handbook of Child Well-Being" (starting on page 2807 of the book), the authors describe their construction of indices of both positive and negative well-being, using micro data from the 2007 U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health. In addition, they present both positive and negative indices of the contexts of children’s development. Both the child well-being and the contextual indices are composed of multiple domains that reflect a social-ecological perspective.

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