February 19 2009
3:30pm - 5:00pm,
Topic: “Designing a National Place-Based Trial to Inform Science and Policy: Head Start CARES”
Morris is a Co-Director of the Policy Area on Family Well-Being and Children’s Development at MDRC. In this role, she leads MDRC’s efforts to design school- and family-focused prevention and intervention efforts to reduce educational inequities associated with social class. She is a developmental psychologist and William T. Grant Foundation scholar whose research lies at the intersection of policy and developmental psychology. Her program of research focuses on three areas of inquiry. First, she has recently launched two large-scale preschool intervention studies, examining whether classroom-based intervention services can improve children’s social-emotional development and, in turn, their academic progress. This work provides an opportunity to test developmental questions about levers of change in children’s social-emotional development, while also contributing knowledge to educational policy about effective practice. Second, she is conducting a study to understand how low-income children’s behavior and underlying physiology are affected by an intervention intended to reduce mothers’ depression. Finally, she has led a wealth of research on the effects of welfare and employment policies on parents’ employment and income and their subsequent effects on outcomes for children. This research has had an extraordinary impact on policy discussions at both state and federal levels and also has contributed to developmental science as the first experimental evidence of the effects of increases in parents’ employment and income on children’s development. She received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell University.