William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families


Dear friends,

Our goal at Shaw Center is to support the healthy development of children. We do this by conducting research to help us understand what helps and hinders children’s growth, developing interventions to help vulnerable families to thrive, providing evidence-based clinical care, and testing the interventions in the real world.

We believe that the family is the most important context to understand and support children’s healthy development. Much of our work focuses on vulnerable families and the prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences and promotion of nurturing relationships.

The best approach to understanding how to support healthy development is to include diverse voices and to view issues from different lenses. We conduct the highest quality research by including faculty from different disciplines (over 30 faculty affiliates from 11 different departments and centers), honoring the wisdom of staff from our community, and carefully listening to the families who open their lives to us.

Our work at the Shaw Center offers students unique experiences. Approximately 60 undergraduate students work with a faculty mentor on research projects each semester and learn to work directly with families and to code behavioral interactions. We also host a summer internship program. Approximately a dozen graduate students work at the Shaw Center providing low-cost therapeutic care to children in the community, learning to conduct cognitive and behavioral assessments, and conducting faculty-led and independent research.

Below we are sharing some materials to give you a deeper look at three themes of our work: Adversity (helping families thrive), Intervention (translating science to practice), and Relationships (supporting healthy interactions).

Looking together towards the future,
Kristin Valentino, Ph.D.
Director, William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families & William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Professor of Psychology
University of Notre Dame


February 12, 2023