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CSSP works to secure equal opportunities and better futures for all children and families, especially those most often left behind.

Our Vision

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to secure equal opportunities and better futures for all children and families, especially those most often left behind. 

Underlying all of the work is a vision of child, family and community well-being. It’s a unifying framework for the many policy, systems reform and community change activities in which CSSP engages. 

Our Values

The work of the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is based on six core values. Adherence to these values promotes organizational integrity and effectiveness, and strengthens the relationships that are critical to all of CSSP’s work. The values are:

Equity & Diversity:  We are committed to equal opportunity and to diversity of experience, background and thought.

Respect:  We believe the worth of all individuals and communities we come into contact with should be valued and protected.

Transparency:  We strive to conduct our business with clarity and directness, so that others will always know where we stand. This includes thoughtful and proactive information sharing.

Accountability:  We understand that accountability is mutual and reciprocal and is the glue that holds good interactions and transactions together.

Optimism:  We share a profound belief in each other and in the people and places with which we work. Our optimism about the possibility of change is rooted in our sense of hope and a determination to persist until our goals are achieved.

Excellence and Integrity:  We strive to always work to the highest standards, encouraging innovation, risk taking and leadership. We are always open to new thoughts and maintain a sense of urgency in our work.

The Results We Want

  • Children are healthy.
  • Children enter school ready to learn and are prepared to succeed.
  • Youth are prepared to succeed as adults.
  • Children grow up in safe, supportive and economically successful families.
  • Communities have the resources and opportunities families need to succeed.


To achieve these results, CSSP improves public policies, systems and communities by building protective factors, reducing risk factors and creating opportunities that contribute to well-being and economic success.

Working with government, philanthropic, private sector and community partners, staff develop new ideas, conduct research, promote policy solutions and provide technical assistance that allows policymakers, administrators and community-based organizations to:

  • Use data for learning and accountability
  • Support community residents’ ownership and leadership of the activities that affect their lives
  • Build  partnerships and coalitions to support change
  • Implement effective policies
  • Sustain financing for improving results
  • Use smart communication strategies and policy advocacy to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families 

CSSP Well-Being Frame from Center for the Study of Social Policy
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