Child Development and Children’s Services

The Child Development and Children’s Services research cluster is dedicated to addressing the negative effects of child abuse and neglect through research on maltreatment and the development of innovative prevention and intervention strategies.

Its mission includes:

  • Advancing knowledge of the impact of child maltreatment and other forms of childhood stress on the health and well-being of children from infancy through adolescence
  • Developing, testing, implementing and disseminating effective strategies that prevent child maltreatment, strengthen families, mitigate the effects of stress and promote healthy development
  • Exploring the preconditions and processes needed to develop sustainable partnerships with community and policy leaders to change large-scale systems, promote success and improve results for vulnerable children and families

In addition to unrealized potential and lost productivity, child abuse and neglect has long-lasting negative effects on the mental and physical health of victims that often results in significant expenditures by health systems, social welfare institutions and the legal system. In recent decades, advances in knowledge about child development, along with a new emphasis on cost-effective interventions, have fueled a movement to increase collaboration between partners, communities and families to reduce child abuse and neglect while promoting positive development. This research cluster serves as the hub of this collaborative effort among an interdisciplinary group of faculty at USC interested in research on child development, as well as partnerships with other academic and community partners.