ATLANTA—Georgia State University has received a $1 million grant from Arnold Ventures to help start a new research lab to improve lifelong well-being for Georgia’s children and families.
The Georgia Child and Family Policy Lab, housed in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, is working in partnership with the Department of Early Care and Learning, Division of Family and Children Services’ Offices of Child Welfare and Family Independence, and the University System of Georgia to find and recommend innovative improvements in safety, education and economic stability.
The lab will help state partners evaluate their programs and develop improvements, create early warning systems that will help dedicate resources where they are most needed, and increase the state’s research capacity by training government research analysts and program leaders to conduct evidence-based analyses.
Researchers and government agency teams will integrate disparate, privacy-protected data sources to examine the collective impact of social support programs, prevent negative child outcomes and support intergenerational paths to education and economic mobility.
“Our agency partners are committed to improving the well-being of Georgia’s children and families by working together across agency boundaries,” said Maggie Reeves, senior director of Georgia Policy Labs, under which the new lab falls. “They are asking big, hard questions to better understand the root issues driving families’ positive and negative outcomes and to ensure government supports every Georgia citizen—throughout their lives—through evidence-based solutions.”
“We are inspired to dive into this work because of the agencies’ willingness to solve problems that are viewed as intractable, as a group, and their commitment to evidence-based decision-making,” said Sally Wallace, dean of the Andrew Young School. “We are well-positioned to do it because of our long-standing relationships with state government and our commitment to solutions-based research.”
The state partners believe the new lab will have a lasting impact.
“Our participation in the Child and Family Policy Lab will increase our collaboration with other agencies whose work also impacts child and family well-being,” said Angela Bell, associate vice chancellor of research and policy analysis for the University System of Georgia (USG). “It will increase our knowledge about how USG policy and practice play a role in the larger well-being of Georgia’s citizens.”
The lab and its partners are working to refine their research agenda by late summer. It will begin its projects in early 2020.
“We want to make sure every child, adult and family member has a good start, and we must do that by conducting research that connects the dots of people’s lived experiences and ensuring government programs are having the intended impacts,” Reeves said.
The Child and Family Policy Lab joins the Metro Atlanta Policy Lab for Education and the Career and Technical Education Policy Exchange in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies’ Georgia Policy Labs.
Georgia Policy Labs
Maggie Reeves is the founding senior director of the Georgia Policy Labs, where she leads the strategy, state partnerships, and operations of the organization. She also participates on the school’s Policy in the Digital World Task Force. She previously served in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies as the interim director and associate director for the Center for State and Local Finance.
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Sally Wallace serves as dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Dr. Wallace has been a faculty member in the Economics Department since 1991, including five years as department chair. In addition to her teaching and research duties, she has been associate dean for research and strategic initiatives since 2015 and previously served as the director of the Fiscal Research Center. Prior to her academic career, she was a financial economist with the Office of Tax Analysis at the United States Treasury Department.