Bush Center Renamed Edward Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy

The Yale (Bush) Center in Child Development and Social Policy, one of the nation’s oldest centers for child and family policy research, has been renamed the Edward Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy.

The new name honors its founder, Edward Zigler, the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University. Zigler is widely regarded as the “father” of Head Start and the nation’s leading researcher of programs and policies for children and families, having planned or implemented such national programs and initiatives as Head Start and Early Head Start, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the innovative Schools of the 21st Century. Walter S. Gilliam, assistant professor at the Child Study Center, has been named director of the Zigler Center. Matia Finn–Stevenson will remain as associate director and Sandra Bishop–Josef, as assistant director. Zigler will serve as director emeritus.

Gilliam has been affiliated with the Center since 1995 and is best known for his national work regarding state–funded pre–kindergarten systems. “We never have been more in need of objective data regarding how best to use limited state and federal resources to serve children and families,” said Gilliam. “I look forward to continuing the Center’s pioneering work informing those who create and implement child and family policy in this nation, and to training future generations of policy scholars.”

The Zigler Center has been part of the Department of Psychology and the Yale Child Study Center, where it served a critical role in training and scholarly research. Alan Kazdin, director of the Child Study Center, said, “The ability of the Zigler Center to translate scholarly research into useful social policy is without peer nationally. Its credibility is augmented by the unmatched caliber of the research and programs that emanate from the Center, such as Early Head Start and national family leave policies. The continuity of the Zigler Center is important and heartening at a time when challenges to child development are greater than ever before.”

The Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy at Yale was founded in 1978 with funding from the Bush Foundation of Minnesota. More recently, the Center was funded by the Smith Richardson Foundation and Yale University.

The Center’s goal is to improve the lives of America’s children and families by bringing the results of empirical research on child development into the policy arena. The Center trains young researchers, conducts policy–relevant studies, analyzes current and proposed national and state policies affecting children and families, develops innovative programs and policies to address problems encountered by families in today’s society and conveys to policy makers and the public what is known about the developmental needs of children.

The Center faculty is comprised of 40 scholars in psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, social work, public health, management, law and education. Each year, approximately 50 fellows, from a variety of disciplines, participate in the Center’s training program. There are now several hundred alumni of the Center, many of whom have assumed leadership roles in the public and private sector as well as in academia to further advance informed social policy and child and family welfare.

An official renaming ceremony will take place in July.

Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326