The mission of the Center on the Developing Child is to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.
We believe that advances in science provide a powerful source of new ideas focused on the early years of life. Founded in 2006, the Center catalyzes local, national, and international innovation in policy and practice focused on children and families. We design, test, and implement these ideas in collaboration with a broad network of research, practice, policy, community, and philanthropic leaders. Together, we seek transformational impacts on lifelong learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.
What We Do
The Center’s diverse activities align around building an R&D (research and development) platform for science-based innovation, and transforming the policy and practice landscape that supports and even demands change. We do this because society pays a huge price when children do not reach their potential, because half a century of policies and programs have not produced breakthrough outcomes, and because dramatic advances in science are ready to be used to achieve a promising future for every child.
Who We Are
We are a multidisciplinary team committed to driving science-based innovation in policy and practice. Our shared goal is to produce substantially larger impacts on the learning capacity, health, and economic and social mobility of young children.
History of the Center
The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University was established in 2006 by director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. Our founding mission was to generate, translate, and apply scientific knowledge that would close the gap between what we know and what we do to improve the lives of children facing adversity.
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