UK Social Work to house Child Well-Being Research Institute

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 15, 2023) The College of Social Work (CoSW) at the University of Kentucky will be the new home for the Child Well-Being Research Institute, which houses the Child Well-Being Research Network (CWRN).

The national network was previously housed by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, where it was launched in 2010.

Supported by funding from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Inc., CWRN is a community of researchers that builds upon the strong connections of its charter members — the 120 Doris Duke Fellows. The Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being focuses on two core ideas — learning is best accomplished in disciplinary groups and carefully crafted research can improve public policy and practice.

“The decision to shift CWRN to an academic institution was made after we came to the realization that UK could provide the infrastructure and insight needed for the research network,” Lee Ann Huang, co-chair of CWRN and researcher at Chapin Hall, said. “The College of Social Work is an excellent fit — given their mission alignment; commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice; strong track record in action-oriented research; and their commitment to the development of scholars.”

With 186 members from 135 universities, CWRN identifies and develops leaders who conduct cutting-edge research to enhance child well-being and improves the nation’s ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment.

Lisa Schelbe, associate professor at Florida State University, will oversee the transition to UK.

Under the CoSW, the CWRN will continue to explore new and innovative ways to conduct and support collaborative research to support child development. CWRN will also explore strategies to cultivate pipelines for future well-being researchers. 

“We are extremely excited about this transition and will support CWRN’s focus on engaging researchers from diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and disciplines to advance the field of child well-being and prevention of child maltreatment," Jay Miller, dean of UK Social Work, said. “Of course, this opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the work and support of the Doris Duke Foundation, Chapin Hall and CWRN members.”

CWRN will host the Research-to-Action (R2A) Summit with Chapin Hall in Kentucky this October.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.