Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents
This knowledge path directs readers to a selection of current, high-quality resources
about promoting healthy social and emotional development in children and adolescents.
Resources tap into the health, education, and social
services literature. Separate sections present resources by
age group and cover topics such as developmental stages; factors that impact
social and emotional development; policies and programs to promote social and
emotional well-being in homes and community settings; and strategies for integrating
health, developmental, and educational services. This knowledge path is aimed
at health professionals, program administrators, policymakers, and
community advocates. Separate briefs present resources for families and schools. This
knowledge path has been
developed by NCEMCH and will be updated periodically.
See the Bright Futures materials, What
to Expect and When to Seek Help: Bright
Futures Developmental Tools for Families
and Providers (2006).
This set of four tools in English and
Spanish aims to help professionals
and families begin important conversations
together on how best to support the
social and emotional development of
infants, children, and adolescents.
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Policy statements, guidelines,
schedules, health-education materials,
and other resources for health
professionals about healthy development in children and adolescents.
Tools and initiatives include
Bright Futures. Practice guides, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, implementation materials,
and family resources for this national health promotion
and disease prevention initiative that addresses
children's health needs in the context of family
and community. Promoting child development is a key
theme. Materials include
dbpeds.org. Resources for health professionals about child development and behavior, especially in the medical setting. Includes forms, checklists, and other screening tools; online tutorials; and articles to support improvement in developmental and behavioral screening, surveillance, and identification of disabilities.
Also see the Healthy Child Care America Resource Library.
Futures at Georgetown University. Guidelines, distance-education
resources, and training tools for a practical developmental approach to
providing health supervision for infants, children, and adolescents, including
those with special health care needs. Topics include general health and
development, mental health, nutrition, oral health, and physical activity.
Some materials are available in Spanish. Bright Futures is funded by the Maternal
and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Also see What
to Expect and When to Seek Help: Bright
Futures Developmental Tools for Families
and Providers (2006).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Child Development. Background information, screening tools, and recommendations for developmental screening. Includes information about and resources to support the role of primary care health professionals in children's developmental health. Also see CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early, Legacy for Children, and Healthy Youth!.
- Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Webinars, issue briefs, reports, articles, and research news about the well-being
of children and adolescents, particularly the most
vulnerable, with the goal of helping policymakers and health, education,
and social services professionals create policies
and programs that will help children and adolescents develop into healthy,
educated, and productive adults. Research areas are
child welfare and foster care systems, community
early childhood initiatives, economic supports for
families, home visitation and maltreatment prevention,
schools, work force development, adolescent crime and justice,
and adolescent development and after-school initiatives.
Chapin Hall is an independent policy research center.
- Child Trends. Research briefs, fact sheets, and other publications for health and social
services professionals and policymakers on topics that include early childhood,
positive development, school readiness, and adolescent development. Includes
a series of briefs on evaluation methods and measuring program outcomes for adolescent development,
child welfare, early childhood, education, adolescent pregnancy prevention, parenting,
and fatherhood programs. Child Trends presents research and data using a holistic,
ecological, and developmental
framework to monitor the well-being of children to inform decision-making
that affects families. Also see the Child Trends DataBank and What Works/Lifecourse Interventions to
Nurture Kids Successfully (LINKS).
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):
Child Development and Behavior Branch. Research and grant information, publications, and other resources for health
professionals, educators, and researchers about psychological, psychobiological, and educational
development from conception through adolescence.
University Center for Child and
Human Development (GUCCHD).
Program, conference, and
training information; publications;
and other resources to improve quality of life for all children
and adolescents, especially those
with special health care needs
and those at risk for poor outcomes. Promoting
early childhood development and
school readiness; building culturally
and linguistically competent service
delivery systems; and enhancing
partnerships between primary health
care and mental health practices
to identify children at risk for
poor outcomes are among the issues
addressed. GUCCHD is a division
of Georgetown University's Department
of Pediatrics. Also see the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CECMHC).
- Healthy People
2020. Information about this national health-promotion and disease-prevention
initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services. View the overview, objectives, and recommended interventions and resources for early and middle childhood, adolescent health, and the social determinants of health.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Maternal and Child Health Training Program. Information about and resources to support university-based
centers funded to train the next generation of
leaders in maternal and child health (MCH) with
an emphasis on interdisciplinary, family-centered, culturally
care with a population-focused, public health approach.
Disciplines include developmental-behavioral pediatrics and adolescent health.
Families and Children.
Program information and
reports about how the life chances
of children and adolescents from
families with low incomes are influenced
by policies that affect their families'
economic circumstances, family
relationships, or the opportunities
available for child and adolescent
development in settings such as
child care, preschool, and after-school
- Urban Institute (UI): Children and Youth. Research and analysis about issues affecting the well-being of children and
adolescents, including child care and child development, child health, child
welfare, juvenile justice, economic well-being, and neighborhoods and adolescents.
UI is a nonpartisan economic
policy research organization.
Infants and Young Children
This section presents resources that address scientific research about early child development; early childhood social, emotional, and communication milestones; developmental screening; early literacy and school readiness; strategies for integrating health, developmental, and educational services for young children and families; and state policy approaches for promoting early childhood care and education.
- Brazelton Touchpoints Center®. Information about training workshops for professionals that serve children from birth to age 3 in health, education, child care, and social services settings to help them build strong family-child relationships and optimize children's development.
- Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CECMHC). Online tutorials, webinars, teaching tools, and guides to finding screening tools, curricula,
and programs about healthy mental development for Head Start administrators,
staff, training and technical assistance providers, mental health consultants,
and families. Includes evidence-based strategies to promote mental wellness
in the classroom, ideas for promoting social and emotional development in the
classroom and at home, and audio clips of relaxation exercises in English and
Spanish to promote staff wellness. CECMHC was created through a grant from
the Office of Head Start (OHS) and is part of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD).
- Center on the Developing Child. Reports, working papers, research briefs, and video clips that translate and
communicate the science of early childhood and early brain development to help
inform policies that promote successful learning, adaptive
behavior, and sound physical and mental health for all young children. Initiatives
include the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (NSCDC), a multidisciplinary collaboration of leading scholars in neuroscience, early
child development, pediatrics, and economics from universities across the United
States and Canada, and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs, which complements the Council's work by explaining why public investments should
be made in the early childhood years. The Center is part of Harvard University.
- Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). Training modules, research briefs, video clips, and practical strategies for teachers and child care professionals for promoting children's social and emotional development. With funding from the Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care, CSEFEL aims to strengthen the capacity of child care and Head Start programs to promote social and emotional outcomes and enhance school readiness for children from birth to age 5 from families with low incomes.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Child Development.
Learn the Signs. Act Early. Materials in English and Spanish for health professionals, early childhood educators, and parents about child development and the warning signs of autism and other developmental delays. Includes fact sheets, a video clip, and a tracking tool on developmental milestones for infants and children from birth to age 5.
Legacy for Children. Information about this set of studies examining the potential for improving child developmental outcomes through parenting programs designed to promote self-efficacy and a sense of community.
- Department of Education (ED): Early Learning Initiative. Information about ED's investments in early learning programs, resources and publications, technical assistance, and interagency work.
- Developmental Screening Toolkit for Primary Care Providers. Information for primary care health professionals who want to learn how to
implement effective, validated, developmental screening in their practices. Addresses the issues of time, resources, and budget, and includes a
video clip of health professionals at Children's Hospital Boston who describe
their experiences with implementing a screening program.
- Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Initiative. Information about this grant
program to assist states and communities
in their efforts to build and integrate early childhood
service systems that address the critical components of access to comprehensive
health services and medical homes; social and emotional development and mental
health of young children; early care and education; parenting education; and
family support. Includes links to ECCS state plans and logic models and resources
to support each ECCS component area. EECS is funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).
- Healthy Child Care America: Resource Library. Information about materials for health professionals and child care providers
on early education and child care. Under Topic, select Social & Emotional Health and click on Submit. Healthy Child Care America is administered
by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP): Assuring Better Child Health
and Development (ABCD) Resource Center. Program information to help states improve the delivery of early
child development services for children with low incomes and their families.
Includes resources for health and social services professionals to promote early
childhood health and development.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Teaching materials, online tutorials, position statements, and other resources
for early childhood professionals and families about child development, school
readiness, and social and emotional learning. Includes information about its
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). Program information and publications about NCCP's early childhood public policy
and education initiatives on topics that include healthy development and early care and learning. Includes data tools and state early childhood policy profiles. Located at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, NCCP
works to identify and promote strategies that prevent child poverty and improve
the lives of children and families with low incomes in the United States.
- National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). Policy briefs, fact sheets, reports, and working papers on early-education
issues including child development, school readiness, and the benefits and
costs of quality preschool education. Also offers an annual
state preschool-education initiatives.
- Office of Head Start: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC). Information about Head Start, a national program
that serves the development needs of infants and children from birth through
age 5 and their families with low incomes through the provision of educational,
social, and other services. In
addition to policy, program, and
training information for Head Start
program staff, the site includes
resources and information about
early childhood development and health, including social
and emotional development, family and community partnerships,
and program design and management. View an online
directory of Head Start programs. Also see the Early Head Start National
Resource Center (EHSNRC) at Zero
- Ounce of Prevention Fund. Program and training information, advocacy tools, and reports to help foster
the healthy development of children from birth through age 5 and their families
with low incomes. The Ounce serves children and families in its birth-to-5
programs in Chicago, through a network of home visiting and doula programs
in Illinois, and via partnerships with colleagues in 15 states
to build research-based programs and advocate for increased public investment
in the first years of life.
as Teachers (PAT).
Information about this
parent-education and family-support
program that serves families throughout
pregnancy and until their child
enters kindergarten. The program
is designed to enhance child development
and school readiness. Program services include home visits; child health, hearing, vision, and developmental
screenings; parent group meetings; and a resource
network that links families with needed community
- Reach Out and Read (ROR). Program information and materials for this national initiative to promote early literacy by making books and reading aloud part of pediatric primary care.
- Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Policy briefs, reports, and briefings about child development. Includes updates about federal funding opportunities, legislation, and programs that impact developmental science.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Building Blocks for a Healthy Future. Preschool lesson plans, teaching tools, and parent-education materials about helping young children make healthy decisions.
- Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI). Policy briefs, research syntheses, presentations, and training tools for early childhood professionals about evidence-based recommendations for improving social and emotional outcomes for young children with, or at risk for, delays or disabilities. TACSEI is funded by the Department of Education.
to Three. A wealth of research-based resources for professionals,
policymakers, and parents to promote the healthy development of infants
and toddlers. Select Promoting
Social Emotional Development for tips, tools, and additional resources.
See Early Care
and Education for resources on topics such as school readiness.
See Public Policy for
resources about broader policy issues that impact social and emotional development
in early childhood. Resources and initiatives include
Baby Matters: A Gateway to State Policies and Initiatives. Information about state policies and initiatives that impact infants and toddlers and their families. Search by category (e.g. Social and Emotional Health),
state, or keyword.
Head Start National Resource Center
(EHSNRC). Program information, technical assistance papers, tip sheets, online training,
and an electronic newsletter to support Early
Head Start (EHS) programs in their efforts
to design and implement high-quality
services for pregnant women and
families with infants and toddlers.
Child development, infant mental
health, early literacy, and social skills are addressed. Includes an EHS program locator.
EHSNRC is funded by the Office
of Head Start.
- Also see the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 2014. Early Brain and Child Development (EBCD) Education and Training Modules. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The five modules and accompanying guides cover early brain development, toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, supporting parents and cultivating community relationships, and advocacy.
- Shonkoff J, Phillips D, eds. 2000. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. [Report].
- See the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD) report, Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel (2010).
This section presents
resources about promoting the social
and emotional development of school-age
children and includes resources that
address social and emotional learning
as part of school and after-school programs.
Several resources are applicable to adolescents, as well.
for Academic, Social and Emotional
Learning (CASEL). Information about and materials
to support evidence-based social,
emotional, and academic learning
as an essential part of education,
from preschool through high school.
Presents research demonstrating
the positive impacts of social
and emotional practices on students'
academic achievement, on reducing
high-risk behaviors, and on promoting
positive adolescent development.
Resources include issue briefs, reports,
program guides, PowerPoint presentations, and
tools for working with families.
- Harvard Family Research Project. Research information and publications to promote the well-being of children,
adolescents, families, and their communities by supporting children's learning
and development. Research areas include complementary learning, family involvement,
and out-of-school time.
- National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention. Program
information, webinars, research briefs, evidence-based intervention fact sheets,
and other resources. The center provides technical assistance and training
to school districts and communities as they plan, implement, and sustain federally funded
initiatives to foster resilience, promote
mental health, and prevent adolescent violence and
mental health and behavioral challenges.
- Several resources in the Adolescents section are applicable to school-age children.
This section presents
resources that address scientific research
about adolescent development; interdisciplinary
models of physical and behavioral health
care for adolescents; and approaches
for developing, supporting, and sustaining
youth development programs. Several resources
are applicable to school-age children, as well.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Healthy Youth! Adolescent Health. Information about societal influences on adolescents and the critical types
of adolescent health behavior
that contribute markedly to the
leading causes of death, disability,
and social problems among adolescents
and adults in the United States. Publications include science-based strategies to improve adolescent health and well-being. Also see the Guide to Community Preventive Services: Adolescent Health for recommendations on population-based interventions that focus on adolescent alcohol and drug use, violence, and sexual behaviors. See too the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).
- FindYouthInfo.gov. Program and funding information
and resources to help youth-serving organizations
and community partnerships plan, implement, and
participate in effective programs for children and adolescents. Topics include positive child and adolescent development, bullying, after-school programs, and transition-age adolescents. FindYouthInfo.gov
was created by the Interagency Working Group on
Youth Programs, which is composed of representatives
from 12 federal agencies that support programs
and services focusing on children and adolescents. See the FindYouthInfo.gov
directory of evidence-based programs.
for Youth Investment.
Issue briefs, webinars, articles, and news about
efforts to improve education, out-of-school
time, adolescent development, and policy and planning
to ensure that adolescents have the supports, opportunities,
and services needed to prosper
and contribute where they live,
learn, work, and play. The forum is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping communities
the nation make sure all adolescents are ready for
college, work, and life. Initiatives
by 21. A framework for child and
adolescent-focused planning and decision-making
and tools to help change makers—from parents to program directors
to policy makers—optimize resources
and streamline strategies to improve
outcomes for infants, children,
- National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center (NAHIC).
Fact sheets, policy briefs, reports, and other materials
about adolescent health on topics that include positive
adolescent development, particularly for adolescent males. NAHIC
is based at the University of California, San Francisco.
- National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health. Fact sheets, issue briefs, reports, and journal article citations about health care topics important to adolescents, such as health insurance and access to care; development of adolescent-friendly, interdisciplinary models of care; and assurance of confidential care. The alliance provides education, research, policy analysis, and technical assistance to support improvements in the way that adolescent health care is structured and financed.
Clearinghouse on Families and Youth
(NCFY): Positive Youth Development. Program development and funding information, publications, an online training
module, news, and a library about positive adolescent development.
NCFY is funded by the Family
and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).
- Note: Several resources in the School-Age Children section are applicable to adolescents.
Data and Statistics
Journal Articles and Other Literature and Research
Resources for Families
Resources for Schools
Related NCEMCH Resources
Social and Emotional Development in Children and Adolescents: Knowledge
Path, 2nd ed. (May 2011). (Updated: August 2014).
Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., NCEMCH.
Reviewers: Lauren Agoratus, M.A., Family Voices and Family-to-Family Health Information Resource Center at the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of N.J.; Robin L. Harwood, Ph.D., Maternal and Child Health Bureau; Keri Linas, Ph.D., Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development; Olivia Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., NCEMCH; Judi Siegel, L.I.C.S.W., Children's Hospital Boston.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., NCEMCH.