Hyde Park Meeting Kids on jungle gym Girl on a Swing NORC at the University of Chicago
An impromptu meeting in the NORC lobby
Child With Spoon NORC staff in the hallway in the Bethesda office

Children and Youth

Children, adolescents, and young adults—as well as their families—need every opportunity to grow and develop to become healthy, educated members of society. Children and youth have a multitude of needs that can affect their development and well-being and which influence and define their adult lives. During childhood and adolescence, this population needs to receive appropriate preventive health care and accumulate significant knowledge through their families, friends, and health and education institutions. In order to help assure healthy growth and development, children and youth must create positive interactions with family members and caregivers, teachers, and others as they navigate through critical transition periods and an array of risks and challenges.

NORC’s research in this field promotes overall child well-being and development. In addition to the NORC experts in this subject area, we also work closely with leading nonprofit child research centers like Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and Child Trends®, to assess the systems that protect and support children and their families, specifically schools, healthcare, foster care, child care infrastructure, and social welfare programs. NORC is experienced in child health insurance coverage, with projects that have supported Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Additionally, NORC has developed an expertise in reaching some of the most vulnerable young people throughout the United States. 

NORC’s pioneering work in longitudinal studies of students provides an outstanding foundation for developing new knowledge about development and achievement. In the early 1960s, NORC sociologist, writer, and Roman Catholic priest Andrew M. Greeley examined the effects of parochial schools, reversing popular wisdom on the subject. More recently, NORC conducted national longitudinal studies on the No Child Left Behind federal education mandate and the Evaluation of Comprehensive School Reform.

In addition to studies of students, NORC has a rich history of conducting research about American youth.  During the 1970s, our landmark National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY) followed 12,000 youth as they entered the labor market, through family formation and now into retirement, creating a rich body of data on the experiences of the largest generation since World War II.  In the late 1990’s NORC began a new NLSY cohort of 9,000 youth.  Both the NLS79 and NLS97 are ongoing cohorts which inform labor policy and provide a rich database for researchers in many academic disciplines.


Critical information about especially vulnerable children and youth has been provided by many NORC studies, including

  • The Chafee Foster Care Project—a study that followed youth as they aged out of foster care. 
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth Study—examined and reported on issues related to vulnerable, at-risk youth.  
  • The Making Connections Survey—collected data from residents in poor urban communities in ten cities; data collected about the children living in these households included school readiness measures, engagement in after-school activities, and health status.  
  • The Resident Relocation Study— an interview with adolescent youth about experiences in school, engagement in pro-social activities, and aspirations for the future was included in the most recent round of data collection in this study of residents living in public and subsidized housing. 


NORC studies also generate data essential to keeping young people healthy, with projects such as

  • National Immunization Survey—the field’s largest continuous phone survey—provides valuable information on the immunization rate of young children and adolescents.
  • National Children’s Study— examines the effect of the environment on the growth, development, and health of children across the United States from before birth until age 21.
  • The National Survey of Early Child Care and Education—the first study on the topic in 20 years—brings together multiple organizations to arrive at a fresh and multi-faceted look at today’s childcare supply and demand issues and their affect on children.

The health of young people encompasses not only physical, but emotional health.  Youth, in particular, are learning how to navigate and build respectful and healthy personal and intimate relationships.  NORC studies, such as the NIJ Dating Violence Experiment in NYC and the CDC Dating Matters Experiment Evaluation contribute to our understanding of violence in youth dating and intimate partner relationships, as well as illuminate potential options for early education and intervention in this area.

Today, our educational expertise and advanced capabilities are enriched by economic, healthcare, public health, and criminal justice interdisciplinary work. NORC continues to play an invaluable role in helping organizations understand how, why, and when things can go right to promote health and development, but also how things can go wrong, with studies on runaway youth, dating violence, gun violence, nicotine dependence, obesity, and alcohol risk perceptions.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Child Protection
  • Foster Care
  • Adoption

Representative Projects

First 5 LA Family Survey. Funded by First 5 LA, the First 5 LA Family Survey will provide representative data about key indicators of well-being for children zero to five and their parents across 14 communities in Los Angeles County participating in Best Start.  Best Start is an ambitious place-based initiative with the goal of improving outcomes for children zero to five by ensuring children are born healthy, maintain a healthy weight, are free from abuse and neglect and enter school ready to learn.  More

Making Connections. The Making Connections survey, launched in ten poor urban communities, examines mobility, social capital, neighborhoods, resident participation, economic hardship, the availability and utilization of services, and child and adolescent well-being. More

Surveillance of Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (NEOP) Data. NORC was awarded a subcontract from the California Department of Public Health to conduct the Surveillance of NEOP Data project, which is a component of a four-year plan to evaluate ongoing and new interventions that address the obesity epidemic in California. Three survey instruments will be used to establish baseline measures for mothers, teenagers, and children from households participating in the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in California as CalFresh.
  More

World Bank Baseline Survey for the Impact Evaluation of Mi Primer Empleo Youth Employment Program, Honduras. NORC carried out the baseline survey for an impact evaluation of the Mi Primer Empleo ("My First Job") Program in Honduras for the World Bank.  The program targets vulnerable youth to provide training and internships to alleviate unemployment. More

Yes Youth Can! Impact Evaluation. NORC is conducting an impact evaluation for USAID/Kenya of the Yes Youth Can! (YYC) program.  YYC is an innovative and large-scale initiative funded by USAID to promote youth empowerment in Kenya.  In accordance with the learning and accountability objectives described in USAID's Evaluation Policy, YYC includes an impact evaluation to assess the causal impact of the program on the outcomes it seeks to influence. NORC designed the evaluation and implemented a survey of 9586 youths in Kenya.
  More

See all Children and Youth projects

Headlines

Sparks: The NORC Blog Carrie Markovitz: A Research Mom’s Perspective on Preschool: Lessons Learned from the Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps PreK Program More
Posted: 4.21.2015 10:50AM
News Star Tribune: NORC evaluated the Minnesota Reading Corps, and looked at how young children learn to read More
Posted: 4.2.2015 12:23PM
Sparks: The NORC Blog Carrie Markovitz: New Evaluation Shows AmeriCorps Members Help Close the Achievement Gap More
Posted: 3.31.2015 12:23PM
News The Washington Post: The Impact and Process Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps Program gives insight into how young readers may benefit from volunteers More
Posted: 3.30.2015 3:38PM
News The Los Angeles Times: The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth delves in to the long term results of bullying More
Posted: 8.5.2013 4:32PM

Contacts

Bronwyn Nichols Lodato

(773) 256-6092

Michael Davern

(312) 357-3770

Chet Bowie

(301) 634-9334

Eric Goplerud

(301) 634-9525

Jeffrey Hackett

(312) 759-4266

Cheryl Austein Casnoff

(301) 634-9510