The Forum for Children's Well-Being aims to inform a forward-looking agenda for building a stronger research and practice base around the development and implementation of programs, practices, and policies to promote all children’s cognitive, affective, and behavioral health, including those with disabilities.
Through public workshops, commissioned papers, and other activities, members of the Forum connect with decision makers and practitioners at multiple levels, translating research to practice and informing practice with research.
The Forum is guided by three strategic priorities:
1. Identify opportunities for research in children's
cognitive, affective, and behavioral health.
2. Engage and educate policy makers and the
public, including parents, families, researchers,
3. Support the scaling up of effective interventions
Throughout all of our work we promote health equity to address disparities and improve the lives of all children, families, and communities.
Cognitive, affective, and behavioral health disorders incur high psychosocial and economic costs for the young people who experience them, for their families, and for the communities in which they live, study, and play.
The Forum was established in 2013 in response to recommendations from the 2009 NRC/IOM report Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral (MEB) Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities
. This report called on the nation to make the prevention of such disorders and the promotion of mental health of young people a high priority.
Specifically, the committee called for a "strategic, national effort to coordinate research, policy, and practice aimed at prevention MEB disorders and promoting health, development
" (p. 378).
The Forum continues to find guidance from the 2019 National Academies report Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda
. This report provides updated evidence for the prevention and promotion of mental health in young people.
NEW FORUM CO-CHAIRS
The Forum is excited to welcome our new co-chairs, Cheryl Polk, Ph.D. and David Willis, M.D..
Cheryl Polk, Ph.D. joined the HighScope Educational Research Foundation as its president in 2013. For more than 25 years, Dr. Polk has promoted healthy child development, especially for children at risk of school failure and their families, through her work as a psychologist, academic, and civic volunteer. She served as the executive director of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund where her insight into early childhood development and philanthropy helped create innovative intervention programs for children exposed to community and interpersonal trauma. She was president of the board of directors of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families and served as a board member of that organization for more than 10 years. Dr. Polk received her Ph.D. in psychology from California School of Professional Psychology-SF/ Alliant International University.
David Willis, M.D. is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. He leads a national initiative to advance early relational health for child health and communities. A board-certified, developmental-behavioral pediatrician, Dr. Willis was a clinician in Oregon for more than 30 years with a practice focused on early childhood development and family therapy. Dr. Willis has been a national lecturer, advisor to early childhood national policy and visionary for the transformation of child health care in coordination with early childhood communities and focused on the advancement of early relational health and young children’s social-emotional and developmental well-being. Dr. Willis received his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.