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Children and youth in NYC and across the globe have disparate access to opportunities for academic learning, behavioral and mental health, and positive development. Some families face powerful challenges in the systems (justice, welfare, and education) and settings (home, school, and neighborhood) they traverse. Understanding how these challenges exacerbate inequality and, alternatively, how supportive policies and programs can expand opportunities and improve outcomes, hold promise for advancing equity in child and adolescent development.

Partnership among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners leverages complementary expertise toward these goals. The Institute’s approach to partnership is guided by a set of partnership principles; leverages content and methodological expertise among students and faculty + practice and policy expertise among community and policy leaders; and embraces a range of partnership activities. The aim is to (a) create new knowledge of effective policies and practices and their implementation across multiple sectors and settings, and (b) build the capacity to eliminate disparities and foster learning, health, and development for more children and youth in our communities.

Blogs with our Partners

Studying STEM in Sunset Park

IHDSC spoke with Dr. Natalie Brito and Sunset Spark — a Brooklyn-based non-profit— about their partnership, the importance of diverse and representative samples, and the benefit of conducting research in community-based settings.

Partnering to Improve Afterschool

What role can afterschool programs play in addressing inequality and promoting opportunities? The Advancing Collaborative Research in Out-of-School Settings (ACROSS) partnership represents a unique partnership between researchers from The Institute of Human Development and Social Change and Good Shepherd Services. Read a Q&A with Dr. Miranda Yates, Dr. Elise Cappella, and Sophia Hwang.

Research Partnerships: Dr. Dillon & MoMath

Dr. Moira Dillon and Cindy Lawrence, Executive Director of the National Museum of Mathematics, received an IHDSC Seed Award to recruit children for interactive in-museum experiments to investigate how children reason about the general properties of geometric figures. Dillon and Lawrence talk about the process of developing their research partnership.

What Principles Guide Our Work?

  • Trust and commitment

  • Responsive, bidirectional communication

  • Production of actionable, shared knowledge

  • Collaborative outreach to diverse audiences

We are Faculty, Students, and Staff with Content Expertise in:

  • Education (SEL, school climate, teaching practices, peer relationships, transitions)

  • Child development (infancy to early adulthood; social, emotional, physical, cognitive) 

  • Mental and behavioral health (promotion, prevention, treatment; trauma-informed practice) 

  • Inequality / equity (economic, racial-ethnic, gender, disability, immigration, language status)

  • Juvenile justice (individual to system-level influences, interventions, and outcomes)

… and Methodological Skills in:

  • Measurement (survey design, observation methods, reliability and validity)

  • Implementation science (fidelity monitoring, quality improvement methods)

  • Qualitative & mixed methods (focus groups, coding approaches, data integration)

  • Descriptive analysis (longitudinal and subgroup analysis, network methods)

  • Causal methods (randomized trials, quasi-experiments, econometric methods).

What Do We Do in Partnership?

  • Research and Consultation: Institute researchers partner with policy or practice leaders to conduct original research that answers questions relevant to practice, policy, and science. Research projects are developed and executed by the partnered team and supported by internal or external funding. The Institute also facilitates links between university researchers and agencies for short-term, targeted guidance: e.g., technical assistance on data systems, feedback on curricula or programmatic improvements, advice on measurement methods, or input on research design or dissemination.

  • Internships and Training: University training programs provide a path for students to assist partner organizations on ongoing or special projects. Undergraduates may work directly with clients or assist staff with specific activities. Graduate students may contribute a relevant literature review, design a survey or implementation tool, facilitate a small pilot project, conduct quantitative analysis, or translate research for practice. 

  • Communication and Outreach: The Institute shares engaging information about innovative, research-based activities that come from partner organizations and research-practice teams. Content may include collaborative reports, white papers, policy memos, and/or blogs to be disseminated via our newsletter, social media, or blog. 

  • Networking and Professional Development: Members of partner organizations are invited to Institute events, e.g., talks, workshops, debates, or film screenings. Events aim to encourage knowledge dissemination and network building as well as future research and action. Partner organizations are eligible to reserve university space for community meetings, staff retreats, or other events relevant to research-practice partnership.

Selected Current Partnerships

Blueprints for Progressive Change in Juvenile Justice

Blueprints for Progressive Change in Juvenile Justice involves faculty working across disciplinary boundaries to address disparities in youth encounters with the legal system. With support from the Institute for Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC) and NYU’s Strategies to Reduce Inequality (SRI) initiative, and in partnership with NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Department of Probation, and the Vera Institute of Justice, Blueprints develops and tests research-based solutions to create meaningful and long-lasting change in the lives of children, families, and communities.

Global TIES for Children

Global TIES for Children, an international research center at IHDSC, collaborates with Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to improve the lives of young children in vulnerable regions across the globe. Supported by the MacArthur Foundation and the LEGO Foundation, the partners work together with local agencies to implement innovative programming to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution. With Global TIES as the lead evaluator, the partnership aims to build the science of early childhood development in humanitarian settings and create a model for global investment in early childhood services.

Good Shepherd Services

Given the need for safe, supportive, and engaging after-school care for school-age children, particularly in low-resource communities, IHDSC and Good Shepherd Services launched a research-practice partnership called ACROSS (Advancing Collaborative Research in Out-of-School Settings) in 2014 to understand and strengthen NYC’s after-school programming. The partnership engages some of Good Shepherd Services’ 4,000 youth, 450 educators, and 20 afterschool programs to produce original research and build the capacity of the workforce to serve youth, families, and communities.

Division of Early Childhood Education

Since 2014, leaders in education research and practice at IHDSC and the NYC Department of Education (DOE)’s Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE) have engaged in a research-practice partnership to study and strengthen NYC’s universal pre-kindergarten program, Pre-K for All. The core principle of the partnership is to put “science to work.” Through research, consultation, and capacity-building, the partners aim to generate information that is useful to policymakers and researchers and support the learning and development of young children through pre-K at scale.