The Center on Children, Families, and the Law (CCFL) is one of 57 departments, centers, programs, and institutes located within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. CCFL was established in 1987 to serve as a home for interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public service on issues related to child and family policy and services. The knowledge of child and family issues we gain is used to educate policymakers, scholars, service providers, and the public. Our work serves as the primary basis for new local, state, and national legislation and has been cited in court rulings, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our Mission

Helping the helpers: We provide an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to improve systems and outcomes for children and families.

Commitment Commitment

CCFL began in 1987 with three people working out of a tiny basement office with a deep desire to improve the lives of children and families by helping the helpers. Since then, CCFL’s work has exponentially expanded, but our mission remains the same. From those first few who concentrated all their dedication on a singular child welfare training grant, CCFL has grown to over 80 faculty, staff, and graduate students working on 57 contracts and grants. Our projects focus on early childhood mental health, child welfare, youth justice, community health, homelessness prevention, and much more. What drives our research and training is dedication to our mission. Amid a pandemic that has had a far greater impact on those most vulnerable, we remain unwaveringly committed to helping the helpers.

Collaboration Collaboration

CCFL recognizes that improving the lives of children and families cannot be done alone and must be viewed through multiple lenses. Our interdisciplinary team reflects this approach at CCFL. We also support and are supported by countless committed individuals working in agencies alongside us. You have heard from a few of our collaborative partners on the previous pages. As we help the helpers, they are empowered to help others. Together we evaluate interventions, challenge broken systems that harm, and find creative solutions to complex problems. Together we push back against barriers and biases and move toward creating inclusive communities where all children and families are seen and supported. CCFL is grateful to collaborate with such outstanding organizations in this crucial work.

Community Community

CCFL’s founder, Dr. Gary B. Melton, began our work believing that community connections could create profound change in the well-being of children and families. Thirty-four years later, CCFL sees the result of this vision twofold: in our community of partners working with us to improve outcomes and in the increase of protective factors in urban and rural communities that transform lives. Our aspirations are mighty. We want to protect all children. We want to address all housing vulnerability. We want to empower all families with the resources they need. This work is vast. Yet one simple word can enable immense change - community. As we help the helpers in many communities, we know we are part of a collaborative community of committed changemakers. We are honored to serve with you.

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