Established in 2006, HCRC is a interdisciplinary center in the Institute of Child Development and College of Education & Human Development to promote public policies and programs for young people through multidisciplinary research from prenatal to early adulthood. In support of this mission, HCRC conducts research on the determinants of well-being from prenatal to young adulthood; investigates the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of social programs; synthesizes, integrates, and disseminates knowledge on socially significant topics; and designs and implements intervention strategies to promote child well-being.
Human capital is the knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes that are required to be successful in an advanced society. Not only does human capital have a long history in economic thought and philosophy, but it also is an increasingly used framework in education, psychology, and human development for understanding and promoting well-being. Early childhood development programs and practices are a form of human capital investment. Investments of personal and financial resources in educationally enriching experiences and activities promoting child well-being can increase economic and social returns over the course of the child’s life. The human capital perspective emphasizes the longer-term effects of programs and practices. Demonstration of immediate and shorter-term effects, while an important first step, is not sufficient. Measuring long-term effects is necessary to fully document the benefits of programs and practices for society at large. Ecological systems and life course models of development complement the human capital approach to provide a comprehensive framework for developing, implementing, and evaluating a variety of investments in young people.