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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Children Youth and  Families
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

History of the Board


In 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) established the Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF) as a joint unit within the NRC's Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) and the IOM. The Board is a successor to earlier groups within the Academy complex, including the Forum on the Future of Children and Families (1987-1993) and the Committee on Child Development and Public Policy (1977-1992). Since its formation, BCYF has sponsored planning meetings, workshops, and consensus studies, many of which have produced published reports. See recent reports at the BCYF website at


About Our Work


As a joint IOM-NRC unit within The National Academies, the Board offers sustained, authoritative, multidisciplinary perspective and research expertise in the analysis of new scientific findings and significant social problems affecting the populations of children and adolescents. BCYF fosters interdisciplinary studies involving the health, behavioral, and social sciences and applies this knowledge to important public policies and social concerns that involve children, youth, and families. A distinctive aspect of the Board’s role is the use of multiple disciplines and developmental perspectives within its studies and deliberations. The Board also fosters the recognition that children, adolescents, and families constitute unique populations whose important differences are often not addressed in public policy and program development discussions.


Much of the work of the Board involves attention to systemic, ecological, and developmental topics that are relevant to the health and development of children and youth. Emerging theory, significant research findings, and new conceptual frameworks about how children and youth grow, learn, and thrive within their families, neighborhoods, and communities, for example, offer much promise in the areas of prevention and positive development. These research advances offer tremendous potential for reshaping injury prevention, health promotion, and youth development programs and policies. But such approaches require bolder approaches in considering how to use research to guide policy and practice, moving beyond discipline-based analyses towards integrative studies that draw upon new conceptual frameworks and theories of change with a developmental perspective.


Our Committees


Members of BCYF and individual study committees are selected on the basis of the expertise needed on a given project, as demonstrated by contributions to the advancement of biological, behavioral, health, and social sciences. BCYF members, who serve as unpaid volunteers, are appointed to serve three-year terms and represent a broad, balanced representation of scientific research and programmatic and policy expertise.


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