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Welcome to the official website of the California Families Project! Here at UC Davis we are conducting a major child development study of Mexican origin children and their families. Here you can learn about our project and our progress. You can meet our team. You can even find resources in your community. And if you have more questions, we invite you to contact us.

What is the California Families Project (CFP)?

  • In 2006, UC Davis in collaboration with the Sacramento City Unified School District, Woodland Joint School District, and Diocese of Sacramento embarked on a major study of 674 Mexican origin fifth-grade children and their families living in Sacramento and Woodland California.
  • The purpose of the study is to examine community, school, family, and individual characteristics that promote the child`s academic and social competence and reduce emotional and behavioral problems during childhood and adolescence.
  • The study also examines the impact of economic disadvantage in families and neighborhoods by examining processes both within and outside of the family that promote positive youth development in the face of hardship.
  • The research investigates unique cultural beliefs, values, and traditions in the Mexican-American community that affect a child`s development, and how the strength of these traditions might promote academic and social competence.
  • The study includes families with a diverse range of incomes, education levels, and family structures, including two-parent and single-parent families.
  • The study has been funded by the federal government until 2015. However, we expect to receive additional funding to follow the children into adulthood, as they begin to form their own families and establish their careers.

Who Funds this Project?

  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

Why is this Project Important?

  • The CFP focuses on Mexican origin children because Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and people of Mexican origin constitute two thirds of all Latinos in the U.S.
  • In California, over 50% of new births each year involve children of Mexican origin.
  • Although families of Mexican origin represent the fastest growing segment of the California population, this study is the first major investigation of child and adolescent development within this ethnic group.
  • Children of Mexican origin are at high risk for school drop-out, emotional and behavioral problems, substance abuse, and long-term problems involving low educational attainment and low-wage employment.
  • However, many if not most Mexican origin children escape these risks, and the primary goal of the present study is to identify the factors that promote success in this population.
  • New information about successful development among Mexican origin children will be used to design more effective community and school-based programs to promote the well-being of Mexican origin families and children.