CUSSW Professor Jane Waldfogel and Assistant Professor Wen-Jui Han, in collaboration with Teacher’s College faculty member Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, have won the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) award for Best Scholarly Contribution. Their article, “Maternal Employment and Child Cognitive Outcomes in the First Three Years of Life: The NICHD study of early child care” was first published in the journal Child Development in the summer of 2002. At that time, the article and their groundbreaking findings garnered the three authors a great deal of national attention, including a New York Times write-up.

The team’s basic finding was that 3-year olds whose mothers had worked full-time during the first 9 months of that child’s life, scored lower on a “school readiness” test than those children whose mothers had not worked full-time. While the quality of the home and child care environment mattered enormously, the results had broad implications on family leave policy provisions. “These results prompted us to call for policies to improve the quality of child care, extend family leave provisions, and expand other family-friendly policies to give parents more and better choices about how to balance their work and family responsibilities in the first year of their children’s lives,” said Professor Waldfogel.

Waldfogel and Han say that they are “delighted” and “thrilled” to have their research be honored. “We hope that our research (will) shed some light on our knowledge about what is best for the well-being of our children and families and what the government and society can do to enhance (their) welfare.” The authors will receive this prestigious award, one of the highest honors awarded for scholarly research in the field of social work, during a conference to be held January 16 – 18th, 2004.

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