Children who visit Penn State’s new Center for Healthy Children participate in art projects, science demonstrations and learning. As they’re doing that, researchers are trying to figure out what will improve their lives down the road.
Jennie Noll, director of the center, said during an open house Friday that researchers want to learn more about the health consequences of abuse and neglect.
“What we know is that children who experience the child welfare system often suffer from mental health and physical health, emotional and behavioral problems," Noll said. "And what we want to do is work toward solutions that will help these kids live healthy, productive lives.”
Earlier this year, the center got a $7.7 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. The goal is to have 1,200 children participate, including about 900 from the child welfare system.
Following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, the university committed to creating a network of researchers focused on solutions for child maltreatment. The center is part of Penn State’s response.