News Release

Brookings launches the Center for Economic Security and Opportunity

July 5, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Brookings Institution’s Economic Studies program is proud to announce the launch of the Center for Economic Security and Opportunity (CESO), formerly the Center on Children and Families. The Center will produce data-driven, non-partisan analysis to address challenging U.S. social policy questions.

Building a thriving and inclusive economy is an essential building block for a healthy democracy, and data-driven policy can provide the foundation for Americans from all backgrounds to prosper. CESO will identify critical social policy challenges; study how to address them creatively and effectively, recognizing that important trade-offs are present in any hard policy arena; and will seek common ground for politically viable solutions.

“As a center, we remain committed to rigorous analysis and smart policies to ensure the U.S. economy provides everyone with opportunities to thrive. We look forward to tackling a broad set of hard social and economic policy issues,” said director of CESO Tara Watson.

CESO’s work is focused on three foundational pillars for broad-based prosperity: 

  1. Meeting fundamental needs through a robust safety net and good jobs,
  2. Building skills through quality education, training, and opportunities for personal development, and
  3. Strengthening capacities of families and communities through investment in the care economy, immigrant integration, and other social infrastructure.

Ensuring access to these pillars requires attention to people and communities who are often overlooked in discussions about the economy: those living in or near poverty, those from marginalized racial and ethnic groups, and those facing current or historical exclusion. CESO’s work will include rigorous analysis of the socioeconomic conditions in which these communities live as well as perspectives from a diverse set of stakeholders and policymakers to shape the broader conversation and create positive change.

CESO was formerly known as the Center on Children and Families which focused on policies that affect the well-being of America’s children and their parents, especially children in less advantaged families. One of the founders of the earlier Center, Isabel Sawhill, called the rebranding a welcome development and one more aligned with the new challenges facing today’s society.

In a noisy and polarized world, CESO is a trustworthy source for the information and tools policymakers need to build an economy that works for everyone.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.