About the Center


A remarkable explosion of new knowledge about the developing brain and human genome, linked to advances in the behavioral and social sciences, tells us that early experiences are built into our bodies and that early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. The mission of the Center on the Developing Child is to leverage that rapidly growing knowledge to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. We believe that unprecedented reductions in economic dependence and social disadvantage can be produced through a new way of thinking fueled by 21st-century science, a new way of working that embraces the culture of innovation, and a new breed of leadership across multiple fields that is driven by constructive dissatisfaction with incremental change.

Specifically, the Center is committed to

  • Building a unified science of health, learning, and behavior to explain the early roots of lifelong impairments;
  • Leading the design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative program and practice models that reduce preventable disparities in well-being;
  • Catalyzing the implementation of effective, science-based public policies through strategic relationships and knowledge transfer; and
  • Preparing future and current leaders to build and leverage knowledge that promotes the healthy development of children and families and brings high returns to all of society.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Center Director & Staff

Read about Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., and the staff members at our Cambridge, Mass., office.

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History & Current Context

Learn how the Center came to be and how recent scientific advances have made this a time of opportunity. More >>


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Press Information

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