About Us

At the Center for Child and Family Policy, we pursue science-based solutions to important problems affecting today’s children and families. The Center emphasizes the bridge from research to policy and practice through an integrated system of research, teaching, service and policy engagement.

Leslie Babinski was named director of the Center in July 2019. The Center was established at Duke University in 1999 under the leadership of Kenneth A. Dodge, a leading scholar in the development and prevention of aggressive and violent behaviors.

Center research has grown to include an array of projects that touch on critical child and family policy issues. Center faculty fellows include a trio of scholars who focus on the effect of economic distress on child development. Other fellows study early childhood, the development of risky behaviors, childhood mental illness and a wide range of education policy issues including school truancy, charter schools, teacher training and education reform efforts.

_mg_1367The Center conducted the largest violence-prevention study ever funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and is home to a large research effort focused on the biology and behavior underlying teen substance abuse, the Center for the Study of Adolescent Risk and Resilience (C-StARR).

Policy engagement is critical to our mission. Policymakers, nonprofits and others consult the Center regarding effective, evidence-based policies that can benefit children. The Center has presented educational seminars for North Carolina legislators on issues such as childhood obesity, school suspension and juvenile justice. Our School Research Partnership links schools and other organizations with Duke students and faculty. Our staff members also provide program evaluation services for many nonprofits and government agencies.

For students, the Center offers opportunities to learn about child policy through classes, research projects, special events and more. The Center’s Child Policy Research Certificate offers undergraduates an opportunity to work closely with faculty while conducting original research.

Our leadership team includes Leslie Babinski, Anna Gassman-PinesBeth Gifford, Jennifer Lansford, and Katie Rosanbalm.

The Center for Child and Family Policy is part of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and is a founding member of the University-based Child and Family Policy Consortium, a forum that fosters scientific collaboration around child and family policy issues.

Journalists can contact the Center for expert commentary on the above topics, as well as child abuse prevention, youth violence prevention, children and technology, parenting across cultures, single mothers and more.