Penn State to open child maltreatment research center

Local News

A $7.7 million grant will help fund a child maltreatment research center at Penn State.

It will be called the PSU Center for Healthy Children. Faculty who work at the center will conduct research to better understand child abuse and the effects of child maltreatment.

“Roughly two million kids each year are impacted by maltreatment,” Dr. Jennie Noll, Director of the National Institutes of Health award, said. “More kids die every year from child maltreatment than all child pediatric cancers combined.”

That’s why Dr. Noll said this type of work is so valuable. The center will be the first and only one of its kind in the world.

“Not every kid who is maltreated ends up having a hard time. Some kids show remarkable resilience. We want to study these kids who also overcome adversity and what it is about those families, environments and what it is about the kid that we can understand, in order to better inform interventions so that all kids can have the same benefits,” Dr. Noll said.

Families will travel to Penn State to help aid those types of studies. The center will be housed in the Henderson building on the University Park campus.

“From five years ago to now, to be the national capstone center for child maltreatment research and training, it’s really a big, big deal,” Dr. Noll said. “It’s a direct outgrowth of that initial investment that the administration made.”

Penn State University has committed a $3.4 million match to help fund the center, for a total of more than $11 million.

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