The Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (CRCW)

Monday, Feb 20, 2012

A focus on children, youth and families

Today's children face many challenges, from economic insecurity to neighborhood crime and troubled schools. At the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (CRCW), researchers are tackling these challenges through a combination of investigation, policymaking and outreach.

An interdisciplinary center of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, CRCW's goal is to stimulate research, educate faculty and students, and influence policymakers and practitioners to improve the lives of children, youth, and families.

CRCW's 25 faculty associates and their research teams are focused on areas including child health, economic insecurity, neighborhood quality and incarceration. These experts bring forward their findings to those working in the field through a variety of outreach mechanisms, including journal publications, workshops and policy briefs.

CRCW supports three major research initiatives:

The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is following nearly 5,000 children born in the U.S. at the end of the 20th century and has already provided new information on the capabilities and relationships of parents, particularly unwed parents. It is also now helping to advance the study of how gene-environment interactions influence child development.The data collected have to date given rise to over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, 70 working papers, over 40 books and book chapters, and 60 dissertations.


The Future of Children journal, a joint project of the Woodrow Wilson School and the Brookings Institution, translates high-quality social science research into information that is useful to policy makers and practitioners. The journal, which reaches more than 20,000 readers and is available free of charge, publishes issues on topics ranging from income policy to education and health. Watch the video.


The Princeton Global Network on Child Migration is designed to stimulate cross-national comparative research on the wellbeing of migrant youth. The project hosts visitors and supports a network of scholars in different countries conducting collaborative research.



In addition to these three programs, CRCW offers seminars, conferences and lectures on topics related to children, youth and families. The Center hosts several visiting research scholars and postdoctoral researchers each year. CRCW associates are frequently cited by the media and provide congressional testimonies.

The director of CRCW is Sara McLanahan, the William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She founded CRCW and serves as editor-in-chief of The Future of Children, principal Investigator on the Fragile Families Study, and project organizer of the Princeton Global Network on Child Migration.

"In order to truly understand and try to solve the complex challenges facing U.S. communities today, we must first understand and address the problems facing many of our children and their families," McLanahan said. "It is a privilege to work on behalf of this population."