Research and Links

Learn About the Topics on

The Research & Links section provides a selection of key websites and reports about each of the topics presented on Also provided are summaries of why each topic is important, how California children are faring, and policy implications. Make a selection on the left to learn more.

A Word About Children’s Health and Well Being

The circumstances in which children are born and grow up—as well as larger forces such as economics and policies—strongly influence child health and well being (1). For example, research shows that household income and education levels, race/ethnicity, family functioning, and neighborhood safety are among the key factors that influence child health (1, 2). Data on and elsewhere demonstrate persistent inequities in children’s health by social characteristics such as income and race/ethnicity. Read more about social determinants of health.

The topics on cover these social and community factors, as well as the outcomes children experience, including their physical health, academic achievement, and emotional and behavioral health. While data in these areas typically are collected through separate systems, and thus are presented in separate topics on, these issues do not occur in isolation and are intricately connected. A change in one area of a child’s life likely will affect other areas.

Similarly, while data and service systems often focus on separate age groups (e.g., 0-5, teens, etc.), each stage of life influences the next one. The early years of life, in particular, provide a foundation for future health and development (1, 3).

Overall, child well being is shaped by an integrated continuum of social, environmental, biological, and behavioral factors (3). Efforts to understand and improve child health can be strengthened by recognizing the broad range of influences on children’s lives and increasing collaboration across service sectors.


1. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. (2014). Time to act: Investing in the health of our children and communities.

2. Larson, K., et al. (2008). Influence of multiple social risks on children's health. Pediatrics, 121(2), 337-344.

3. Richards, J., & Pickett, O. (2015). Life course and social determinants professional resource brief. National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.