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Leading Child and Family Research Analysts Awarded Grant to Establish New Early Childhood Information and Policy Initiative
Project THRIVE Launches at the National Center for Children in Poverty

New York, NY—The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health was just awarded a prestigious five-year cooperative agreement from the National Bureau of Maternal and Child Health within the federal department of Health and Human Services. With this support, NCCP will create Project THRIVE: Linking Policies for Child Health, Early Care and Learning, and Family Support. Collaborating with state and other leaders in the field, THRIVE will increase awareness and provide policy analysis that helps states strengthen and expand early childhood systems to ensure that young children and their families have access to high-quality health care, developmental services, and parenting supports.

“With the creation of this new project, targeted research will better reach the policymakers charged with creating effective early childhood policies that guarantee families the best possible outcomes for their children,” said Dr. Jane Knitzer, NCCP’s Executive Director.

THRIVE will place special emphasis on providing information that can be used to reduce health disparities. Building on NCCP’s expertise, it will also focus on policy strategies to help vulnerable children and families, including children with special health care needs and children in families affected by depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence and other risks to effective nurturing.

Aiming to promote better integration of child health and early care and learning strategies, THRIVE will carry out analyses of data related to issues of critical concern to the states. Through a “virtual” policy sharing network, it will also facilitate the sharing of information among state early childhood leaders. Reports on emerging topics and strategies will be available to state leaders and family advocates.

Dr. Leslie Davidson, Director of the Center for Child and Family Life Epidemiology in the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior health advisor to the initiative said, “THRIVE’s health and mental health agenda will complement and enrich NCCP’s work.” Ms. Kay Johnson, a recognized maternal and child health policy researcher, will serve as THRIVE’s Project Director.

Each year through 2010, the project will receive over a quarter of a million dollars to work with policymakers to improve health and early learning outcomes for young children.