Several Center for Research on Child Wellbeing researchers are focusing on ways to improve the wellbeing of "at-risk youth," those exposed to environments and circumstances that increase their likelihood of delinquent behavior or negative health and social outcomes.
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn is using data from The Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods to investigate the effects of family life, school environment, and neighborhood quality on child and adolescent development.
Jean Grossman is working on several studies of after-school activities: two random assignment evaluations of academically oriented after-school programs, a study aimed at understanding the costs of operating summer-time programs, and another that examines the effects of neighborhood after-school “campuses.” Grossman has also conducted an evaluation of school-based mentoring and a random assignment evaluation of Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programs.
Douglas Massey is using data from the Add Health Survey to examine how cumulative exposure to disadvantaged family, neighborhood, and school environments effects allostatic load in young adulthood and to determine whether allostatic load is a mediating variable between these environments and outcomes such as obesity, cognitive performance, and behavioral problems (crime and violence).
Devah Pager is using field experiments to study the extent of discrimination against young black men in low-wage labor markets and to assess the degree to which a criminal record serves as a barrier to low-wage work. More recently, she has looked at the supply side, investigating how perceptions of discrimination affect choices about where or how to pursue employment. She is also conducting in-depth interviews and telephone surveys with New York employers to better understand their attitudes about and experiences with young black men.
CRCW associates have also recently edited The Future of Children journal issues focusing on topics related to at-risk youth, including "Juvenile Justice" and "Transition to Adulthood."