Skip over navigation

Journal Issue: Children of Immigrant Families Volume 14 Number 2 Summer 2004

Statement of Purpose
Richard E. Behrman

Statement of Purpose

Since 1989, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has provided an institutional home for the development and publication of The Future of Children, with a mission to promote effective policies and programs for children by providing policymakers, service providers, and the media with timely, objective information based on the best available research regarding major issues related to child well-being. After this issue, however, The Future of Children will move to Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, in partnership with The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. The first Princeton-Brookings issue will appear in Spring 2005, and is entitled "School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps." We are pleased that although the institutional home for the journal is changing, its purpose is not. The overall mission of The Future of Children will continue to be to translate research into better policy and practice for children.

This journal issue, the last to be edited under my supervision by Packard Foundation staff, focuses on the growing number of immigrant families in this country, and the challenges faced by their children as the next generation of Americans. For the most part, children of immigrants benefit from having healthy, intact families, strong work ethic and aspirations, and a cohesive community of fellow immigrants to ease their transition. But they also often face many obstacles, including poverty, discrimination, limited language skills, and lack of access to quality health care and education resources. Even though most children of immigrants are born in this country, and therefore are entitled to services and benefits the same as every other U.S. citizen, they often are not able to take advantage of these supports. As a result, though children of immigrants may start out with good health and high educational aspirations, these strengths can dissipate by adolescence. At each stage of their development, further efforts are needed to ensure that children in immigrant families have access to the resources they need to help them stay on positive pathways to success. The futures of these children - and of the entire nation -  are at stake.

In closing, I would like to note how much I have enjoyed serving as the editor-in-chief for The Future of Children for the past 15 years, and how proud I am of all it has achieved in helping to draw attention to the needs of children across the country on a wide range of important topics. Under the leadership of Sara McLanahan, the journal's new editor-in-chief, we hope and expect this legacy to continue for many years to come.