Children’s lives are now more complex and multifaceted than ever. Understanding how programs and policies at the federal, state and local level affect children’s well-being requires a firm understanding of how characteristics of individual and contexts shape child development.
The overarching goal of this course to familiarize students with theory and research related to child development and social policy so that they may apply this knowledge to current child and family policy issues. We will begin by reviewing some of the primary theoretical frameworks that guide policy research in the field of child development and social policy and discuss the history of this interface. Then we will consider empirical studies addressing several core topics in the field. Policy issues will be examined from an interdisciplinary perspective, grounded in developmental psychology but drawing from research in sociology, economics, and demography. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective helps us critically assess the complex influences of public policies on the development of children and families.
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