Research and Advocacy Centers

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Public Policy & Law Center

The Public Policy and Law Center (PPLC) was established in 2006 as an outgrowth of CHILDREN AT RISK’s longtime research and advocacy work and in response to the American Bar Association’s appeal to the private bar, “[to] get involved and use its legal expertise on behalf of Houston’s children (American Bar Association Children’s Rights Litigation Committee, 2004).”  The mission of CHILDREN AT RISK’s Public Policy and Law Center is to improve the lives of children across Texas through:

  • Legal and policy research and advocacy
  • Legislative and administrative rule drafting
  • Drafting of amicus briefs and impact litigation
  • Continuing education for attorneys and other professionals on children’s legal and policy issues

Led by a Law Advisory Board  of over 35 attorneys from the legal and business community and staffed with a dedicated and creative group of attorneys and public policy analysts, the PPLC has been tremendously successful in its years of operation.

Center to End the Trafficking & Exploitation of Children

The Center to End the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children (CETEC), the only center of its kind in Texas, was established in 2007 to combat domestic minor sex trafficking through policy research, community education, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and non-partisan legislative advocacy. CETEC is committed to strengthening laws and policies on human trafficking and improving the response to children who have been commercially sexually exploited.

The Center to End the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children aims to assist in improving efforts in prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships through:

  • Awareness & Education: CETEC educates the community on human trafficking through trainings, presentations, publications, media outreach, and an annual summit.
  • Research & Advocacy: CETEC engages in legal research, studies trends in trafficking, and explores best practices in order to improve policies at the state and local level. The Center is a resource for public officials and is also heavily involved in researching, drafting, and supporting positive legislative change.
  • Collaboration: CETEC does not provide direct services and relies on relationships with organizations on the front lines of investigation, prosecution, and victim services in order to identify community needs and promote strategic advocacy priorities.

Click here for more information on human trafficking and current initiatives of the Center to End the Trafficking and Exploitation of Children.

Center for Child Health Research & Policy

The Center for Child Health Research and Policy (CCHRP) is a collaboration among CHILDREN AT RISK,  Doctors for Change, and Rice University Kinder Institute Urban Health Program. The CCHRP strives to improve the health of all children through collaboration, policy, research, and education. The Center believes that organizations across sectors should work together to create an infrastructure that aims to provide all children with a healthy food environment, safe opportunities for an active lifestyle, and access to preventative health services.

The Center for Child Health Research and Policy is action-oriented and advocates for change through:

  • Collaboration.  The CCHRP acts as a convener to bring together health care providers, universities, school districts, faith-based organizations, childcare centers, nonprofits, and government to collaboratively address how to create an infrastructure to prevent childhood obesity and provide children with access to optimal nutrition, safe opportunities for active play, and preventative health services.
  • Policy.  The CCHRP advocates on the local, state, and federal levels and works with other advocates to create systemic change that provides children with optimal nutrition, active lifestyle, and preventative health services.
  • Research. The CCHRP collaborates with research institutions and health care professionals to collect data on the health of children, identify gaps in preventative programs and health services, and evaluate interventions for their potential impact.  The Center will publish special reports and peer-reviewed articles on a variety of health related topics and develop evidence-based recommendations on how to combat childhood obesity; increase access to healthy foods and safe, active play; and improve the health of children.
  • Education.  The CCHRP provides information on obesity prevention, healthy nutrition, safe opportunities for active play and physical fitness, and access to preventative health services. The Center educates community members, nonprofits, health care providers, and public officials through conferences, presentations, print materials, and the media.

The Center collaborates with and supports direct service providers to ensure that the policies, partnerships, and infrastructure exist to improve the availability of evidence-based, sustainable recommendations and improvements in children’s health.

Center for Parenting & Family Well-Being

The mission of the Center for Parenting and Family Well-Being (CPFWB) is to ensure all children in our state grow up in a safe, stable, and nurturing home.  The CPFWB is partnering with organizations across the state to prevent childhood adversities, promote positive and healthy parent-child relationships, and increase the availability of effective parent support programs.    Research has consistently shown that parent support programs have a positive impact on a range of child, family, and community outcomes including lowering rates of social, emotional, and behavioral disorders in children, parental stress and anxiety, and child maltreatment.

The Center for Parenting and Family Well-Being does not provide direct services.  Instead, the CPFWB collaborates with and supports organizations that provide direct services to ensure that the infrastructure, policies, and partnerships are in place to improve the availability of evidence-based parent support programs.

The Center for Parenting and Family Well-Being relies on input from the community and best practices to identify, promote, and implement strategies  to prevent childhood adversities, promote positive and healthy parent-child relationships.  The CPFWB is action-oriented and advocates for change through:

  • Assessment: The CPFWB conducts comprehensive needs assessment on issues that impact family well-being to identify effective solutions that align with the strengths and needs of the community.
  • Collaboration:  The CPFWB acts as a convener of providers of parent support programs, hospitals, universities, school districts, faith-based organizations, childcare centers, and nonprofits, to collaboratively create an infrastructure that facilitates parent support programs and family well-being.
  • Research:  The CPFWB conducts research to identify best practices that promote family well-being and evaluates the effectiveness of our programs.
  • Education: The CPFWB raises awareness and hosts educational events on parenting support, family well-being, and evidence-based strategies to support families.
  • Policy:  The CPFWB advocates for policy changes that foster safe, stable, and nurturing environments for children through policy advocacy on the local, state, and federal levels. Click here for our priorities for the Texas 84th  legislative session.

To learn more about the CPFWB projects, visit our parenting page.

Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation

The Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation (CSME) supports the research and evaluation efforts across all of CHILDREN AT RISK’s primary issue areas, centers, and policy initiatives. The Center seeks to influence data-driven and evidence-based policy change through:

  • Data-Driven Community Advocacy Tools. CSME designs and disseminates data-based research tools including:
    • School Rankings, an annual assessment of school performance across the state
    • Texas School Guide
  • Research & Evaluation. CSME assesses policies and programs, resulting in evaluations including:
    • Corporate social investment reports
    • Community Health Needs Assessments
    • Fiscal Evaluations
  • Publications. CSME produces research oriented publications including:
    • Growing Up in Houston, a biennial assessment of the quality of life for children in Houston
    • The Journal of Applied Research on Children and the Journal of Family Strengths, two digital peer-reviewed open access journals
    • Growing Up in North Texas
    • Multiple reports based on research studies
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