Policies On Integrity, Independence, and Transparency

Child Trends is committed to upholding the principles of integrity, independence, and transparency in all our work, and we observe the highest standards of ethical conduct in our research and business operations. To ensure that our work is grounded in these principles, we have a series of policies that all employees agree to uphold.


Child Trends has both a Research Misconduct Policy and a Business Ethics Policy to support reporting, evaluating, and resolving allegations of fiscal and research misconduct. These policies provide for an unbiased, fair process that protects both the organization and innocent individuals. Research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Business ethics includes our obligation to the public to ensure that we administer project funds and our services in a manner that fully complies with government laws and regulations, as well as our own high standards of integrity and quality.

All Child Trends employees are required to uphold the Confidentiality Policy, which ensures that proprietary or otherwise confidential information shared with Child Trends is kept confidential, as is all information and data pertaining to our work.

The Child Trends Data Security Policy provides additional guidance to ensure that all research and administrative staff, including subcontractors and consultants, understand the importance of keeping personally identifiable information confidential, and details best practices on how to do so.

The Child Trends Privacy Policy makes clear to the public how we collect data and how that data may be used.


Child Trends’ Personal and Financial Conflict of Interest Policy protects our work from situations whereby financial or other personal considerations compromise an individual’s objectivity, professional judgment, professional integrity, and/or ability to perform their responsibilities. Child Trends requires all employees to report all actual or potential conflicts of interest annually, or within 30 days of the emergence of a potential conflict of interest. The Policy covers all subrecipients, subcontractors, vendors, and consultants.

Our Organizational Conflict of Interest Policy aligns with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, requiring Child Trends employees and their research partners to disclose any unequal access to client information or conflicting roles that might bias staff members’ judgment in the proposal for or conduct of research. Potential organizational conflicts of interest are reviewed and documented for any new work or proposals.

Further, as a tax-exempt organization dedicated to producing objective and unbiased research, Child Trends abstains from direct and grassroots lobbying activities.


Child Trends is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to producing objective, unbiased research. As such, Child Trends researchers may not engage in political activities while in the workplace or on behalf of the organization. Researchers may provide research and policy guidance to elected or appointed public officials.


Child Trends’ Research Transparency Policy encourages research projects to engage in practices such as study registration, pre-analysis plans, and data archiving. All Child Trends projects are strongly encouraged to use other research transparency practices such as good data management, the use of broad consent under the revised Common Rule, and open access publishing.

Child Trends believes that the policymakers, practitioners, and others who rely on our research should know who funds our work. Child Trends products note the source of the financial support for that work. In addition, Child Trends updates our list of funders and other partners on our website quarterly.