Welcome to Child Trends’ new blog, Trend Lines, where we will share key findings from child and youth research and offer research-based insights to inform policies and programs. Sharing information is mission-critical for Child Trends. We seek to improve the lives of children and youth by conducting high-quality research and sharing it with the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children. These decision makers include policymakers, program administrators and service providers, researchers, foundations, and others.
In this first blog entry, I want to take the opportunity to introduce Child Trends. Even if you have known us for years, you may not know the full scope of work, or what makes us unique and valuable.
For more than 30 years, we have helped the nation understand and support children’s healthy growth and development. We bring an array of skills to this task: data analysis, measures development, survey design, evaluation, and review and synthesis of research literature. We work closely with the public policy community, practitioners, foundations, and our research colleagues across the country and around the world to identify and understand emerging issues and trends and to make data and evidence integral parts of decision making. We share what we’ve learned through online tools, research briefs and other publications, social media, and presentations to a wide variety of audiences.
Our researchers, policy analysts, and communications experts have substantive expertise in a wide range of issues, including:
- Early Childhood Development
- Youth Development
- Education (K-12)
- Teen Sex and Pregnancy
- Marriage, Family, and Parenting
- Child Welfare
- Child Poverty
Five key features distinguish Child Trends:
- We embrace a “whole child” approach: We study children at every stage of development (from infancy to the transition to adulthood) and across all the important domains of their lives – health, cognition, and social/emotional well-being.
- We study children in the real world: We recognize the importance of family, child care, school, clubs, and other settings in shaping and influencing children’s development and well-being.
- We want children to flourish. Much research, policy, and practice focuses largely on avoiding negative outcomes. Child Trends applies a broader lens, pursuing knowledge of how to promote positive outcomes, as well as avoid negative ones.
- We value objectivity and rigor: We are scientists, first and foremost. Our work is accepted across the ideological spectrum as unbiased and nonpartisan.
- We pursue both knowledge development and knowledge transfer. It is not enough for us study an issue – we also want to share what we’ve learned in a timely and accessible way with people who can use it to improve children’s lives.
In this space in the coming weeks and months, we’ll share a variety of findings and observations from across our organization. We hope you will find it interesting, informative, and — most of all – important and useful to your own efforts to improve the lives and children and youth.
Carol Emig, President