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Justice and Welfare Systems

Studying systems and settings is core to IHDSC, and projects focused on criminal justice or child welfare settings represent a growing area of inquiry. Our affiliates are examining how justice system involvement affects education, health, or employment outcomes; exploring how setting-level characteristics and processes might be improved to foster development; and making evidence-based recommendations for policies and programs that can reduce inequality and improve outcomes for individuals, families, and communities. The child welfare system, encompassing foster care and juvenile justice, is a particularly important setting for youth growing up in urban poverty, and as such, an emphasis for faculty whose interests lie in enhancing outcomes for system-involved youth. 

Seed Award Spotlight

Headshots of Luis Rodriguez and Richard Welsh

It Takes a Village: Understanding the Interactive Roles of Families, Schools, and Communities in the Student Discipline Process

The study focuses on the New York City context as an empirical case to understand the extent to which out-of-school factors contribute to exclusionary discipline practices. Using a convergent mixed methods approach, the study conducts parallel quantitative analyses of administrative and survey data alongside more in-depth qualitative interviews of parents and guardians to unearth linkages between family characteristics and perspectives, community and school attributes, and student suspension rates and disparities.

Projects and Working Groups

Systems Aligning For Equity

The aim of SAFE Spaces (formerly RISC) is to examine the setting-level characteristics and processes that occur in child welfare settings and explore their association with outcomes for youth.

NYU 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.

Featured Blog Posts

Q&A: What is the Role of Social Science in Defunding the Police?

The Institute of Human Development and Social Change asked faculty, post-docs, and graduate students to answer a brief survey that explored the intersection of justice, research, and civic engagement. The goal was to imagine bold, equitable, and evidence-based ideas for policy and practice that promise to make a meaningful impact in the lives of children, youth, and families.

Why Social Scientists Need to Support Defunding the Police

In a matter of weeks, the call to defund police departments has gone from a radical, fringe position to a mainstream protest slogan and policy prescription across the nation. Helena Wippick, project coordinator at IHDSC, makes the argument that this position has been one supported for years by social scientists.

Q&A: Putting Research to Practice in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Settings

2017 was a monumental year for criminal justice reform in New York. At the State level, Raise the Age legislation was signed in April, promising that young people who commit non-violent crimes will receive intervention and evidence-based treatment. Around the same time, New York City announced a plan to close the jails on Rikers Island within 10 years, replacing them with a “smaller, safer, and fairer” system. IHDSC staff member Chris Barker spoke with Drs. Javdani and Godfrey about their experiences on the ground.