Current Projects

STEPS: Study of Teen Experiences that Promote Success

May 2023 - February 2028

This project aims to advance research on the relationship between economic well-being, wealth, adolescent functioning and mental health.


Net Worth Poverty and Children’s Development

August 2022 - July 2024

This study examines how net worth poverty – or household’s whose wealth levels fall below one-quarter of the federal poverty line – is associated with children’s cognitive and behavioral development. Most children who are net worth poor are not income poor, meaning that these economically vulnerable group of children have been conventionally overlooked in conversations about poverty.


Child and Adolescent Predictors of Young Adults’ and Their Parents’ Primals in Nine Countries

July 2022 - June 2024

This study provides an unprecedented opportunity to understand whether and how primals in early adulthood are predicted by childhood and adolescent experiences and how parents’ primals are related to their young adult children’s primals in the most diverse long-term longitudinal study ever conducted.


BELLA Online: ESL and Classroom Teachers Working Together With Children and Families

July 2022 - June 2026

Project goal is to design, develop, and test an online professional development program called Bridging English Language Learning and Academics (BELLA) for improving teacher and student outcomes for working with English Learners (ELs).


The Impact of Mental Health Therapy on Job Creation and Business Outcomes in Youth and Female-Led Enterprises

July 2022 - December 2023

This study will evaluate the impact of cognitive behavior therapy delivered through virtual reality on job creation and business outcomes in youth and female-led enterprises in Nigeria via improvements in depression, stress, and anxiety.


Henderson-Polk Family Life Survey

January 2022 - November 2023

The Henderson-Polk Family Life Survey is an impact evaluation of the Family Connects home visiting program, when delivered using a hybrid telehealth model.


Durham Navigation Study

October 2021 - April 2024

The Durham Navigation Study is a randomized control trial to evaluate the impact of Community Navigation on outcomes for young children and their families.


Survey of Health Trends (SEHAT)

September 2021 - August 2026

Study of children’s and adolescents’ trajectories of mental health, immunization, and primary healthcare utilization in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. The research is being conducted in India, where one-sixth of the world’s population lives.


Great Smoky Mountains Study of Rural Aging

April 2021 - January 2026

Project to augment the longitudinal Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS) to create a national data resource, the Great Smoky Mountains Study of Rural Aging (GSMS-RA), for the study of early determinants of the aging experience in a rural context. The GSMS began collecting data on children, now participants are entering their 40s.


Race, Gesture, Learning and Teaching Effectiveness

November 2020 - December 2024

This project has been examining how race and nonverbal communication, such as gesture and affect, impact children’s learning. The team is now working to replicate their research in the lab and pilot a gesture intervention in first and second grade classrooms in local elementary schools.


Developing and Evaluating Progressive Prosecution in Durham, NC

October 2020 - June 2024

The purpose of this project is to support the development and evaluation of new evidence-based plea bargaining policies and practices in the Durham District Attorney’s Office.


Local Criminal Justice Reform Efforts: Effects on Employment, Self-Sufficiency, and Family Well-Being

December 2019 - December 2024

This study is evaluating a local program in Durham, NC, that waives the fees of those who have a suspended license due to failure to pay, in order to discover how reinstating drivers’ licenses can reduce barriers to employment and self-sufficiency.


Early Identification and Prevention of Child Maltreatment: Cross-Agency Processes and Outcomes

December 2019 - Ongoing

Local social service agencies and health care providers routinely make decisions regarding a child’s risk for maltreatment. Yet, providers have limited information to guide their decisions and rarely receive feedback regarding the children’s long-term outcomes.


Poverty and Economic Self Sufficiency Among Hispanic Families with Children

September 2019 - September 2023

The National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families is a collaboration between Child Trends and three university based research partners and serves as a hub of research-based information on low-income Hispanic children and families.


Evaluation of the Responsive Early Access for Durham’s Young Children (READY)

September 2019 - August 2024

Evaluation of a unified strategy to early childhood development called Responsive Early Access for Durham’s Young Children (READY). READY was created by a Durham-based nonprofit in partnership with early care and education, pediatrics, family support, mental health, and homeless services organizations and professionals.


Baby’s First Years Study

August 2019 - August 2040

Baby’s First Years is a pathbreaking study of the causal impact of monthly, unconditional cash gifts to low-income mothers and their children in the first three years of the child’s life. The cash gifts are funded through charitable foundations. The study will identify whether reducing poverty can affect early childhood development and the family processes that support children’s development.


Factors in Persistence Versus Fadeout of Early Childhood Intervention Impacts

April 2019 - March 2024

This project seeks to understand whether, for whom, and how the effects of successful early childhood school readiness interventions are sustained across a child’s development.



September 2018 - Ongoing

The Infant-Toddler Trauma-Informed Care (ITTI Care) Project leverages the existing early childhood education workforce support system to expand and strengthen trauma-informed knowledge and practice within the communities they serve.


N.C. Resilience and Learning

July 2017 - Ongoing

The North Carolina Resilience and Learning Project is a partnership with the Public School Forum of North Carolina to promote and support trauma-informed schools across the state. The project team works closely with districts and schools to provide professional learning and ongoing coaching to meet school-specific needs and goals. Our work aims to create systems-level change by shifting the culture and mindset of an entire school so that staff begin to see a child’s behavior in the context of their life experiences, in consideration of possible trauma history or stress response system triggers.


Partnering for Excellence

July 2012 - Ongoing

This project is an evaluation of Benchmarks’ Partnering for Excellence (PFE), a model that seeks to improve the well-being of children and families in contact with the child welfare system and reduce the need for higher end behavioral services through a more trauma-informed community, which can result in reduces in behavioral healthcare expenditures.


Durham Children’s Initiative Evaluation

July 2011 - Ongoing

Project Description The Durham Children’s Initiative (DCI) (formerly East Durham Children’s Initiative) is a place-based, nonprofit organization that supports children and families from cradle to college or career. Established in 2010, DCI’s vision is that all children in Durham graduate from high school ready for college or career. To achieve this vision, DCI provides children…


Childhood, Adolescence, and Covid-Related Risk and Protective Factors in the Development of Adjustment in Early Adulthood Across Cultures

Building on the ongoing Parenting Across Cultures longitudinal study that began in 2008, this project will continue to follow participants in their early to mid-twenties.