The Urban Child Institute Partnership

A New Vision for Helping Memphis's Youngest Citizens

A young boy coloring

The Urban Child Institute (UCI) works to promote the health and well-being of children ages 0 to 3 in Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee. In pursuit of this mission, UCI conducts research, advocates for public policy, launches early intervention programs and prevention-based strategies, and serves as a trusted community expert.

In 2011, RAND began partnering with UCI in order to develop and execute a new strategic vision for the organization—one that hones in on the social and emotional development of young children. Although the partnership is ongoing, UCI has already leveraged RAND’s expertise in early childhood education policy analysis and data-driven decisionmaking to

  • Refine its organizational priorities
  • Focus its efforts to support the understanding of early childhood issues among key audiences
  • Create new materials like Off To A Good Start, which engages more stakeholders in making a difference on behalf of children in Memphis.
  • A group of preschool children sit with their teacher and play musical instruments

    How Do Early Childhood Caregivers Gain and Grow Their Skills?

    Apr 13, 2016

    In a RAND-UCI study, results showed that education and training requirements vary for early childhood educators and caregivers in Shelby County, Tennessee—but the research evidence is mixed when it comes to the benefits of different types of professional development activities.

On The Horizon

RAND continues to work side by side with UCI and local leaders in order to translate research into positive community action. And as the partnership evolves, its reach and impact is expected to grow as well. Future initiatives include

  • Expanding Off To A Good Start: RAND and UCI will build out a data platform for ongoing use of information, particularly on social and emotional well-being.
  • Exploring research questions related to social and emotional well-being of young children: RAND and UCI are delving deeper into critical questions about the home and child care environment, how these factors shape social and emotional development, and how to better support providers in nurturing child development.
  • Continuing support of CANDLE, a large-scale study on early childhood: RAND will continue to support data analysis for UCI’s innovative study on the cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children in Memphis and Shelby County.