At the University of Notre Dame’s William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, we conduct innovative research to understand and support healthy development across the lifespan. Our affiliated faculty, staff, and students lead projects related to our primary research themes:

Our affiliated faculty and students are from the departments of psychology, anthropology, sociology, as well as other units within the University. The Shaw Center facilitates research by providing shared laboratory space as well as staff assistance for grant-writing, management, and participant recruitment.

We offer hands-on research experiences for students through laboratory courses as well as a summer internship program. We also encourage students’ independent research by providing the same types of resources provided to faculty. We also host the Department of Psychology's Child and Family Therapy Clinic which offers critical training for our clinical doctoral students.

Our work conducting rigorous research and educating students aligns with the mission of the University. Our research themes cohere with the Church’s social doctrine related to human dignity and the recognition of the importance of family life.

We are located within the community in South Bend, IN. We also have a satellite research center in Fort Wayne, IN. We strive to develop mutually beneficial relationships within our surrounding communities in which we learn from each other. We learn from our community partners, as well as our research participants, how to support families and respect their diversity and strengths. 

The projects emanating from the Shaw Center are already making an impact, not only in the intellectual community, but also in the lives of the participants who have been helped through our intervention projects. We plan to continue to grow as a research center, attracting scholars and students from a variety of disciplines whose work focuses on understanding and improving the lives of children and families.


The William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families is an integrated research and clinical services center dedicated to understanding and advancing the well-being of all children and families.

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To leverage our innovative and community-engaged research to empower all families to thrive and to improve evidence-based psychological services for children and families. 

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We work to achieve our mission by:

  • Conducting basic science and translating it into practice by developing, providing, and evaluating prevention, intervention, and clinical services 
  • Advancing solutions to real-world problems with a focus on understanding and supporting underserved populations
  • Providing high-quality training and educational experiences for graduate and undergraduate students
  • Collaborating with a broad array of national and international academic, community, and funding partners
  • Sharing knowledge gained through the dissemination of results and expansion of programs locally and internationally   
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