Our Approach

Mission and Vision

Our Mission

We transform innovative research in child and family well-being into practical solutions to ensure all children, youth and families are resilient and thriving.

Our Vision for the Future

When our work is successful, children, youth and families in Washington state and beyond will have equitable access to evidence-based programs that support parents and children’s social-emotional well-being.

Our Approach

A Whole-Child Approach

We believe that parents, families, schools, communities and society all play a role in influencing a child’s well-being. Our “whole-child” or “bioecological” approach connects and supports all these roles, working together to build the caring and compassionate community a child needs to develop life-long social and emotional skills.

Our approach is anchored by rigorous research into the many factors that influence children’s well-being. We then apply this knowledge by sharing current research and evidence-based, strategies, tools and practices with parents, and practitioners who integrate these practices into their relationships with children.

Read about the bioecological model

Infused with Mindfulness & Compassion

Across the board, our research and programs are infused with mindfulness, compassion and self-compassion to support the well-being of adults in children’s lives and create nurturing, supportive communities.

Working for Equitable Access

Children and families in communities facing social injustices like poverty and racism often lack access to evidence-based practices and programs – especially those that reflect their unique needs and cultural backgrounds. These communities often experience significant social inequities, as well as generation after generation of adversity and trauma. We know through our research this has a direct impact on the social-emotional development of children.

Our Strategies

Research serves as the foundation for all activities at the Center – from professional trainings and parenting programs to community outreach, prevention and advocacy work. We focus our efforts through three strategic channels:

Collaborative Research

In partnership with more than 15 academic partners across multiple UW departments, schools and colleges, we support and engage in multi-disciplinary, collaborative research. We provide graduate and post-doctoral students with research training opportunities, including training fellowships and mentorship. Undergraduate students can engage on hands-on research, enhancing their critical thinking skills, developing an empirical approach to understanding children and families, and laying the foundation for graduate school or work in a professional setting.

Education & Professional Training

Our innovative degree and professional training programs, including a master’s degree program and continuing education trainings, prepare students to be leaders in the field. Our train-the-trainer model means that we offer trainings to help providers be effective with parents, children, and the communities they serve. Providers use these practices to develop mindfulness and reduce stress in their own lives and workplaces, and integrate these practices into their work and relationships with children and families.

Community Outreach

We believe all communities should have meaningful access to current research findings and evidence-based programs that support children, parents, and professionals’ well-being. We collaborate with community partners to adapt and co-create programs, workshops and resources relevant to a communities’ unique culture and needs. We also produce workshops, conferences and public speakers that bring academics and practitioners together. Visit our events calendar and resource library to learn more about our offerings.




Learn more about our work in our four focus areas

Promoting Well-Being & Resilience

How can we strengthen resilience and enhance our children’s social, emotional and cognitive abilities – especially in the context of adversity?

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Supporting Parents

What are the best, practical approaches for warm, responsive and mindful parenting – for the well-being of children and their parents?

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Addressing Adversity & Inequity

How does adversity, economic disadvantage, and racial inequity impact children and families? How can we support them and change the system?

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Cultivating Mindfulness & Compassion

How do we infuse mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion, and social-emotional skills in our research and work with children, youth, and families?

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