Awareness is growing of the essential role of stability in children’s healthy development and ability to learn—and of the damage that instability can do. This concern, however, has emerged separately across many different domains, including different policy areas, different areas of research, and different perspectives. These converging realities provide a unique opportunity to take a comprehensive look at the issues of stability and instability in children’s lives and to begin to weave together these disparate threads and concerns to identify strategies to better support children’s ability to learn and succeed. Researchers with the Urban Institute’s Kids in Context Initiative are working to this end through a multiphased project. This report presents insights gleaned from one phase of this effort, specifically a convening a distinguished group of 35 policymakers, practitioners, researchers, thought leaders, and funders who were brought together with the support of the Foundation for Child Development 1 to begin a dialogue about stability and its role in children’s development. In brief, the participants agreed that instability was a complex but important issue that needs further attention from practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and philanthropies. While there are significant questions that need to be explored further, there also was discussion of concrete steps that policymakers and practitioners could and should take now to provide more supports to help stabilize families and children.
Read the report here.