Research has established that investing in the development of children and families pays lifelong dividends, and that failure to do so contributes to intergenerational poverty, reduced health and productivity and other negative life outcomes. Yet vast discrepancies exist in access to support by families and children — particularly in the United States, one of the world’s few economically developed countries that does not provide an array of services for young children, including universal preschool, or a broad network of social services for families.
Under the direction of Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Virginia & Leonard Marx Professor of Child & Parent Development & Education, and Sharon Lynn Kagan, Virginia & Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood & Family Policy, the National Center for Children & Families (NCCF) conducts interdisciplinary research to advance the policy, education and development of children and their families in the United States and around the world, and prepares graduate and postdoctoral students to conduct policy research in education, health and psychology.
NCCF is unique in combining multiple disciplines to understand different policy and development approaches to enhance the lives and success of children and families. Its stature is such that the Buffett and Heising-Simons Foundations have funded NCCF to help replicate similar centers in peer institutions and design and advance an entirely new field of study, early childhood policy, which was born and developed at Teachers College.
Throughout the world, the pendulum is swinging to support increased investment in young children. Yet we in the United States fall way behind in the amount and range of services we provide and in their quality, equitable distribution, efficiency and coherence.
We want our work to directly benefit children and adolescents, but the ultimate goal is to promote long-term health. That requires applying a life-course lens so that we can understand the early factors that influence mortality and address them up front, which is a far more cost-effective approach for our society.
There are two major strands to NCCF’s efforts to promote the development of children and families:
From Mary Swartz Rose and Lawrence Cremin to George Bond and Joan Gussow, the legacy of many of TC's greatest teacher-scholars is carried on through TC's tribute scholarships.
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