Child Trends News Service: Advancing Social Science Knowledge to Benefit Hispanic Families

September 1st, 2016 - August 31st, 2018 | PROJECT

Child Trends is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of children and their families by conducting research and sharing the resulting knowledge with practitioners and the public. In this project, Child Trends will conduct research and development to launch a Child Trends News Service aimed at providing news reports that feature social science child-centric research. The resulting work is designed to improve outcomes for at-risk children, particularly Latinos, the largest and fastest-growing minority group among U.S. children. Working with a professional news syndication company, the Child Trends News Service will produce engaging reports for key news media outlets that feature the latest actionable social science research related to behaviors that help mitigate negative child outcomes associated with poverty, lack of education, violence, among other challenges. Child Trends will draw attention to the reports through social media and outreach to stakeholders. By airing these reports on local television news programs in English and Spanish, millions of people will have greater access to this information. This is early R&D work to demonstrate that local television stations will air these stories and to examine the audience impact—how does accessing this social science research through preferred media channels influence news audiences’ knowledge and attitudes toward specific social science research? The study will also delve deeper to better understand how news might, or might not, motivate behavioral change. The study will provide valuable lessons to the informal science education and the STEM communication science field.

The overarching aim of this project is to use commercial news to reach populations, especially Latinos, who have historically been underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers. The goals of the project are to:
* Leverage mass media news outlets to effectively communicate developments in social science research on child well-being and development to Latino audiences.
* Advance the field of informal STEM learning by exploring how the public interacts with actionable social science child research.
* Expand the reach and application of the news products through strategic collaborations with provider organizations serving at-risk Latino families; the child research and STEM fields; and other organizations working on Latino family issues.
Activities include the development and formative testing of the news service, the qualitative and quantitative testing of the news service's impact on audiences, and evaluation of the implementation of the project's components. The quantitative research, using a control group and treatment group, will work to establish preliminary evidence that the Child Trends News Service will result in changes in viewers' knowledge, attitudes, and intent to adopt behaviors related to child-centric social science research. The Child Trends' project team will be informed by an Advisory Board and Technical Working Group as well by working closely with Abriendo Puertas, the largest U.S. parenting education program for low-income Latino parents. Child Trends will partner with Ivanhoe Broadcast News to produce and distribute the materials. Group I&I Consultancy will evaluate the project. In year-two, Child Trends will produce a research brief on lessons learned and research outcome measures. The proposed research and development will be conducted over a two-year period; findings will inform ongoing service and additional research.

This project is funded by the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program, which seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Child Trends News Service
Research Brief: Expanding Latino Parents’ Access to Child Development Research through the News Media
Child Trends New Service External Review: Third/Final Report

Team Members

Alicia Torres, Principal Investigator, Child Trends Inc


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1612747
Funding Amount: $910,700.00


Access and Inclusion: English Language Learners | Ethnic | Racial | Hispanic | Latinx Communities
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Families | General Public | Parents | Caregivers | Scientists
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology