About the ICFP


The overarching goal of the Institute is to stimulate and coordinate the cross-disciplinary work required to make progress on a variety of policy issues facing the United States, with a particular focus on child and family policy. The expectation is that this University-based and University-wide Institute will continue to enhance and strengthen relationships between students and scholars at the professional schools and social science departments, with an eye towards increasing dialogue and collaboration among the next generation of policy makers and policy researchers.


The Institute is considered by Columbia University as the mechanism by which to organize intellectual work on policy issues, highlighting   those  that impact children and families. The basic rationale for the creation of the Institute is to find new forms of social organization within the University and between the University and policy makers that are more effective than traditional departments and schools in bringing to bear the powerful intellectual resources of the University on problems facing society, and children and their families.

While the Institute will draw on faculty and research scientists from specific disciplines and research centers within specific schools, it will be problem-focused, not discipline-focused.

To pursue its multi-disciplinary mission, the Institute draws on the resources of eight of the professional schools across Columbia University as well as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, and on nationally recognized research centers within these schools. Three of these professional schools have taken the lead in shaping the mission of the Institute: the School of Social Work, Teachers College, and the School of Public Health. Five other professional schools have endorsed the Institute: the School of International and Public Affairs; the School of Journalism; the School of Law; the School of Business; and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Across these eight schools and the Graduate Faculties of Arts and Sciences more than 80 faculty members and research scientists are engaged in discipline-specific and inter-disciplinary policy relevant research, and in particular on child and family issues.

Initial funding for the Institute, and for the recent update of the website, was provided by Columbia University. Project-specific funding is being provided by foundations and public agencies.

The Institute seeks to achieve its mission and overarching goal through four sets of interrelated activities:

Go to the policy and program links page for information about other services of the Institute.

Structure and Leadership:
Dr. Sheila B. Kamerman, Compton Foundation Centennial Professor for the Prevention of Children's and Youth Problems at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Co-Director of the Cross National Studies Research Program.

Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor in Child Development and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and founder and Director of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, the Adolescent Study Program at Teachers College, and the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center of Columbia University.

The Two Columbia Centers
The infrastructure of two of the Institute’s original founding Centers (the National Center for Children in Poverty at Mailman School of Public Health, and the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College) provides additional support.

The Steering Committee

The Institute has a Steering Committee and the Deans of each of the eight Schools are Ex Officio members of the Committee as are the Provost and the two Co-Directors.

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Professor and Co-Director (Teachers College)
Sheila B. Kamerman, Professor and Co-Director (School of Social Work)