Center for Child & Family Well-Being

Logo for the Center for Child and Family Well-BeingAbout CCFW

The Center for Child and Family Well-Being is a vehicle through which the UW-Madison is able to create and share knowledge as well as capitalize on expertise found outside the University to promote healthy human development and family life. It’s mission centers on the development and promotion of research that reflects the experiences of families. By making such research accessible to families and service providers, it is the hope of this center to lead the way in scientific discovery that promotes positive human and family development.

CCFW provides research opportunities for faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students in departments across the UW-Madison campus in cooperation with researchers and policymakers in state and federal government, foundations, and community-based nonprofit organizations. Undergraduate collaborations with community-based organizations include opportunities to provide counseling and education in local communities, as well as independent studies and internships.


The Center for Child and Family Well-Being seeks to promote the development and well‐being of children and families across the lifespan by advancing multidisciplinary research and evidence‐based programming and policymaking by grounding our core values in equity and inclusion. Specific goals include:

  1. Understand the multitude of factors influencing lifespan human development and family relations, with emphasis on the prenatal to age 5 period, couple relationships, and caregiving.
  2. Provide opportunities for innovative research, teaching, and community engagement.
  3. Engage in both prevention and strengths-based work that promotes positive health and well-being outcomes.
  4. Collaborate across community and university stakeholders to support action-driven change.
Upcoming Events

Information about past CCFW Seminar Series

CCFW Research

CCFW promotes multi-method, interdisciplinary research from many departments and schools across the University. Learn more about our affiliated labs and ongoing research studies.

UW Couples Lab
Principle Investigator: Lauren Papp, PhD, Human Development and Family Studies
Focus: Intimate relationships and daily experiences as critically-important contexts for health and well-being across the lifespan.

Family Outcomes and Autism Spectrum Disorders | Hartley Lab
Principle Investigator: Sigan Hartley, PhD, Human Development and Family Studies
Focus: How children with ASDs affect and are affected by parents’ marital relationship and why some couples are able to successfully adapt to the unique challenges of having a son or daughter with an ASD, and may even grow closer, whereas other couples are not.

Cognitive Development & Media Lab | Kirkorian Lab
Principle Investigator: Heather Kirkorian, PhD, Human Development and Family Studies
Focus: How young children pay attention to and learn from television and interactive screen media such as videogames and touchscreen apps.

Role of Peers in Childhood Obesity and Fitness in New York City Principle Investigator: Jason Fletcher, PhD, Public Affairs
Focus: Effects of social influences on weight and fitness outcomes across critical developmental periods in childhood using a unique and detailed longitudinal dataset of over 1 million New York City public school children.

Family Impact Institute: The Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars Principle Investigator: Karen Bogenschneider, PhD, Professor Emerita, Human Development and Family Studies
Focus: The Seminars are unique in addressing topics identified by legislators; providing objective, nonpartisan information; encouraging policymakers to examine policies through the family impact lens; and offering a neutral, off-the-record setting for dialogue across the partisan divide.

Parenthetical Online Parenting Education and Support Program
Principle Investigator: Stephen A. Small, PhD, Human Development and Family Studies
Focus: Provide a supportive online setting where parents can develop trusting relationships with one another and site facilitators, have opportunities to discuss and share their experiences as parents, access well-researched information, and participate in intentionally designed education about effective parenting.

A collaborative effort with the Center for for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center.
Focus: Improve the relationships and well-being of children and families through innovative interventions, provide high impact learning experiences and training for students, and increase the visibility and impact of research.
CCFW Leadership Team

 Larissa Duncan, Faculty Director

A photo of Janean Dilwort-Bart

Janean Dilworth-Bart, Prenatal to Five Chair

Heather Kirkorian

Heather Kirkorian, Child Development Lab Faculty Director

Amy Lee Wagner

Amy Wagner, Child Development Lab Executive Director

Picture of Kristin Litzelman

Kristin Litzelman, Core Research Faculty & UW-Extension Integrated Specialist Representative

Graduate student Mariela Quesada Centeno

Mariela Quesada Centeno, Graduate Student & Community-Based Organization Representative

Become an Affiliate

Affiliations allow a faculty member, staff member, graduate student, or community member to be associated with the Center for Child and Family Well-Being. All UW System faculty, graduate students, and staff are eligible. Other researchers, professionals, and community members are eligible for affiliate status provided that they maintain a substantial connection with the activities of CCFW or are part of funded projects. Affiliates have three-year terms, which may be renewed using the same process used for new affiliates.

Fill out our application.

Give the Gift of Change

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Center for Child and Family Well-Being. It is through donations from individuals and organizations that the Center is able to reach individuals and families in need, especially those that are underserved.

Please consider making a gift to help us advance research for children and families.

For more information please contact:

Bobette HellerBobette Heller, Associate Vice President
Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association | 608-308-5309

Picture of Claire Mezick

Claire Mezick, Director of Development
Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association  |  608.572.3310

Connect with CCFW

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For general CCFW inquiries, email us at | 608-890-3259