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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center

by John Huang, 2006

 The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in 2008. Image from  Facilities Services, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center is a multidisciplinary organization in the Division of Health Affairs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was established in 1966 to study children and families, especially those children at risk for hindered development due to biological or environmental factors. The center's mission is to "produce scientific work related to children and families, offer services to young children and families in a model child care program and other community settings, provide effective technical assistance, consultation, and materials that use proven knowledge and practices, and educate new professionals through teaching and mentoring." Almost every project at the center focuses on early child development, mainly between birth and age six. Historically, projects have clustered in five areas: child development and intervention studies, family studies, health studies, technical assistance, and professional development. What distinguishes Frank Porter Graham from comparable units at other universities is its broad focus. In addition to concentrating on children reared in poverty, it studies normal development processes and child care services. Its progressive program includes studies that integrate health and behavioral status.

Since its establishment, the center has grown from three trailers on Cameron Avenue to more than 40,000 square feet in three separate Chapel Hill locations. By the early 2000s the center's annual budget was more than $17 million, with most of the funds coming from federal grants issued by the U.S. Department of Education and other national organizations. The center employs about 250 staff members, about 100 of whom are full-time. Of the full-time staff, Environmental Protection Agency nonfaculty serve as primary investigators.


Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center (1995).

Additional Resources:

Austin, Christina. "Frank Porter Graham Child Care Center to close in 2013: Has served UNC, town since 1966." The Daily Tar Heel. April 4, 2011. (accessed November 13, 2012).

Image Credits:

"Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, completed 1971." Facilities Services, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2008.


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