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Henderson building at University Park

About the Center


Engage the promise of safe and healthy environments for all children through innovative research, high quality training, and evidence-informed policymaking.

Our Vision

Every child deserves the best chance for a safe and healthy life.  The Center for Safe & Healthy Children nurtures and supports transdisciplinary scientists to work in conjunction with advocates, practitioners, and policymakers to conduct and disseminate impactful new science that can change life course trajectories, mobilize public investment in prevention and treatment, accelerate science to practice, spark dynamic system-wide solutions, and support and inspire future generations to do the same. We will hone and be true to our mission and vision via the following basic tenets:

The Center for Safe and Healthy Children will:

  • support cutting-edge science that will improve the health and well-being of children exposed to maltreatment and early adversities [including child abuse, racism, gender discrimination, family violence, family separation and extreme poverty].

  • engage the child welfare community in translational science to improve practice and spur practice and policy reform

  • forge new models for the primary prevention

  • mentor and train undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in cutting edge science and in the translation of science into practice and policy-relevant messaging

  • engage and train members, affiliates, and trainees in a research-to-policy collaboration that will mobilize public investment in research, prevention, treatment, and evidence-informed policy

  • raise the bar for quality research through methodological rigor and mechanistic research that will produce promising new avenues for intervention

Major Activities

Director, Center for Safe and Healthy Children

Jennie Noll

Jennie G Noll, Ph.D., is the Ken Young Family Professor of Healthy Children in the department of Human Development and Family Studies and the past-director of the Penn State’s Child Maltreatment Solutions Network.  Her contiguous NIH-funded research over the past three decades has focused on the bio-psycho-social consequences of child maltreatment including sexual abuse, the biological embedding of early-life stress, cognitive development of stress-exposed populations, pathways to teen pregnancy for females exposed to trauma, the internet and social media behaviors of at-risk youth, and the primary prevention of sexual abuse. She is also the PI of the NICHD P50 Capstone Center, the Translational Center Child Maltreatment Studies and MPI (with Yo Jackson) of the T32 Training grant, Creating the Next Generation of Scholars in the Child Maltreatment Sciences. Noll and her team work directly with local, state, and federal partners to produce and translate research in ways that support and educate policymakers in their use of science to inform policy decisions.

Learn more about center faculty and staff.