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. Select a topic 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 structural forces such as economics, institutions, and policies—strongly influence their health and well being (1). For example, research shows that factors such as poverty, low parent education levels, poor housing, unsafe neighborhoods, and adversity during childhood influence health (1, 2). Data on and elsewhere demonstrate persistent inequities in children’s health by income level, race/ethnicity, and other social characteristics. Learn more about health equity and social determinants of health.

The topics on cover these social 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 are intricately connected and do not occur in isolation. 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. 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, structural, environmental, biological, and behavioral factors (1, 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.  Arkin, E., et al. (2014). Time to act: Investing in the health of our children and communities. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America.

2.  National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). Communities in action: Pathways to health equity.

3.  Richards, J., et al. (2017). Life course and social determinants professional resource brief. National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.