This book addresses the well-being of families and children in America today. The volume is primarily motivated by the number of scientific and policy questions being raised about the level of well-being among America's children and families, the factors influencing today's children and families, and what interventions might improve the prospects for current and future generations of parents and children. Although much is currently known about family and child well-being, the book focuses mainly on the limitations and gaps in our understanding and, most importantly, addresses unanswered research questions. In addition, it makes suggestions concerning research designs and data collections to answer these questions.
The book is unique in that it grows out of the work of the Family and Child Well-Being Research Network, a multidisciplinary research and policy network of the National Institutes of Health that includes a vast range of fields. The Network and this volume take the position that child development and family life are so complex and multifaceted that they cannot be satisfactorily described and explained by only one—or even a few—disciplinary perspectives.
The Well-Being of Children and Families includes contributions from some of the very best people from a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, demography, economics, education, family science, genetics, medicine, psychology, public policy, and sociology. Thus, the book will be of particular interest to professionals in these fields and other disciplines where there have been dramatic expansions in the number of people interested in families and children.