In establishing the Children’s Well-Being Laboratory (CWBL), the overarching goal has been to promote child and youth well-being, broadly defined as positive mental health as well as strong peer and family relationships. Given the pivotal role that families play in the lives of children and youth, CWBL research focuses particular attention on:
- adverse experiences within the family that can compromise well-being, namely family violence and child maltreatment
- development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions that promote child and youth well-being, in particular for maltreatment-exposed young people who are involved in the child welfare system
To understand and change the negative impact that maltreatment and family violence can have on children and youth, the CWBL’s research activities are diverse in nature, spanning different populations, age groups, sampling strategies, and research designs.
Altogether, the aim of CWBL’s research activities is to inform the practice sector about evidence-based ways of effectively addressing the mental health needs of young people affected by child maltreatment – needs which, if left unaddressed, would likely result in negative impacts across a host of other domains of functioning (e.g., education, relationships) on both a short- and longer-term basis.
To achieve CWBL’s goal of practice-changing research that improves the mental well-being and healthy development of children and youth, a network of collaborations has been established that spans various practice sectors, most notably child welfare, education, and community-based centres that offer parenting services.