- PhD, Developmental Psychology, Cornell University, 2008
MA, Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University, 2005
BS, Psychology and Child Development, Tufts University, 2003
Dr. Morrissey's work centers on examining and improving public policies for vulnerable children. Ongoing research examines early care and education policy, paid family leave, family economic instability, and their implications for children and families. She is co-author of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality (2017, 2021, Russell Sage Foundation), which offers a comprehensive, evidence-based policy approach for supporting young children. Her research has been published in journals including Pediatrics, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Marriage and Family, and has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the US Dept of Health and Human Services, and USDA.
In 2020 and 2021, Dr. Morrissey was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Since 2017, she has served as a commissioner on the Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s Healthy Youth & Schools Commission.
Dr. Morrissey's research is informed by her experiences in policy. In spring and summer 2022, she is on leave from AU working at the Office of Child care at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2013 and 2014, she was on leave from AU serving as senior advisor for Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at DHHS Prior to joining the AU faculty in 2010, Taryn Morrissey served as a health policy advisor on the staff of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, first for Senator Edward Kennedy and then for Senator Tom Harkin. Dr. Morrissey worked primarily on federal health reform. She began her career in policy as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) / Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) congressional fellow.
- See Also
- SPA Department of Public Administration and Policy
- For the Media
- To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
PUAD-899 Doctoral Dissertation
PUAD-685 Topics in Policy Analysis/Mgmt: Child and Family Policy
PUAD-899 Doctoral Dissertation
SPA-385 Topics in Public Policy & Mgmt: Health Policy
- Social policy and child development
- Child care, parental employment, and work-family issues
- Health policy and child health
Grants and Sponsored Research
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Colleen Heflin). “Building on Work to Advance Understanding of Instability in Parental Employment as a Barrier to Child Care,” 2021-2022
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Principal Investigator (Co-PI: Scott Allard). “Barriers to Early Care and Education participation: Examining Geographic, Demographic, and Policy Characteristics Across the Country,” 2020-2021
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Colleen Heflin). “Employment Instability as a Barrier to Child Care,” 2020-2021
Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US Department of Health and Human Services funds). Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Scott Allard). 2019-2020
Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, US 2050 Grant, Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Katie Vinopal). “Neighborhood Disadvantage and Children’s Cognitive Skill Trajectories,” 2018-2019
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Award. (Team members: Nina Yamanis and Catalina Sol). 2017-2020
Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US Department of Health and Human Services funds). Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Sharon Wolf). 2017-2018
Metropolitan Policy Center, American University. "The Effects of Universal Early Childhood Education on Parental Time Use". Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Seth Gershenson). 2016-2017
University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, National Health Interview Survey Research Program. "Using Natural Experiments to Examine the Impacts of SNAP on Adult and Child Health." Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Daniel Miller). 2015-2016
Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement (IPA), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013-2015
Maternal and Child Health Research Program, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Principal Investigator (Co-PI: Rada Dagher). "A Longitudinal Analysis of Maternal Depression and its Associations with Child Obesity and Health Care Use" 2012-2013
Institute for Research on Poverty RIDGE Center for National Food and Nutrition Assistance Research Grant: Food Assistance and Children's Eating Patterns, Food Insecurity, and Obesity: The Influence of Local Food Prices. Principal Investigator (Co-PI: Alison Jacknowitz). 2011-2012
University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, Research Program on Child Hunger Small Grants Program: Food Insecurity Across the First Five Years: Triggers of Onset and Exit. Co-Principal Investigator (PI: Alison Jacknowitz). 2011-2012
Child Care Bureau Research Scholar Award, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Principal Investigator: Patchworks and Sequences of Child Care: The Effects of Multiple Child Care Arrangements on Child Development; 2006-2008
Chaudry, A., Morrissey, T., Weiland, C., & Yoshikawa, H. (2017, 2021). Cradle to Kindergarten: A new plan to combat inequality. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. https://www.russellsage.org/publications/cradle-kindergarten-2ndEdition
Selected journal articles:
*indicates former or current student.
Heflin, C., & Morrissey, T. W. (2022). Patterns of earnings and employment by worker sex, race, and ethnicity: Results from a sample of workers connected to public assistance programs. Race and Social Problems. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-022-09371-6
Morrissey, T. W., Allard, S. W., & Pelletier, E*. (2022). Access to early care and education in rural communities: Implications for children’s school readiness. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 8(3), 100-123. https://www.rsfjournal.org/content/8/3/100.abstract
Morrissey, T. W. (2022). The Earned Income Tax Credit and short-term changes in parents’ time investments in children. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-022-09830-7
Miller, D. P., & Morrissey, T. W. (2021). The effects of SNAP on child and adult health: An instrumental variables approach. Public Health Nutrition, 24(18), 6543-6554. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34482850/
Morrissey, T.W., Cha, Y.*, Wolf, S., & Khan, M.* (2020). Household economic instability: Constructs, measurement, and implications. Children and Youth Services Review, 118, 10552-10564. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740920306691?via%3Dihub
Vinopal, K.*, & Morrissey, T. W. (2020). Neighborhood disadvantage and children’s cognitive skill trajectories. Children and Youth Services Revie, 116, 105231-105242. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740920300669?via%3Dihub
Morrissey, T. W., & Miller, D. P. (2020). SNAP participation improves children’s healthcare use: An analysis of ARRA’s a natural experiment. Academic Pediatrics, 20(6), 863-870. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1876285919304619
Yamanis, N., Morrissey, T. W., Bochey, L.*, Cañas, N.*, & Sol, C. (2020). “Hay que seguir en la lucha”: A community health action approach to promoting individual and community resilience among Central American migrants in Washington, DC. Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1080/08964289.2020.1738320
Morrissey, T. W. (2019). The effects of early care and education on children’s health. Invited research brief. Health Affairs. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hpb20190325.519221/full/
Thomas, M.M.C.*, Miller, D. P., & Morrissey, T. W. (2019). Food insecurity and child health. Pediatrics, e20190397. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2019/09/05/peds.2019-0397
Morrissey, T. W., & Vinopal, A. (2018). Center-based early care and education and children's school readiness: Do impacts vary by neighborhood poverty? Developmental Psychology, 54(4), 757-771. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29154645
Morrissey, T. W., & Vinopal, A. (2018). Neighborhood poverty and children’s elementary school outcomes. Journal of Marriage and Family, 801(1), 182-197. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12430/abstract
Wolf, S., & Morrissey, T. W. (2017). Economic instability, food insecurity, and child health during and after the Great Recession. Social Service Review, 91(3), 534-570. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/694111
Morrissey, T. W. (2017). Active shooter incidents and gun ownership and storage among families with young children in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 100, 50-55. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743517301214?via%3Dihub
Morrissey, T. W. (2017). Child care and parental labor force participation: A review of the research. Review of Economics of the Household, 15(1), 1 24. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11150-016-9331-3
Selected Policy Reports:
Chaudry, A., & Morrissey, T. (2022, January). Pennies to the Dollar: The investment gap for New Jersey’s earliest learners. Advocates for Children of New Jersey: Newark, NJ. https://acnj.org/new-report-details-investment-gap-in-new-jerseys-youngest-learners/
Morrissey, T. W., Heflin, C. M., & Fannin, W. C. (2021, October). The United States child care subsidy system is underused but well-positioned to promote racial equity. Lerner Center for Public Health Promotin Health Research Briefs Series. Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs: Syracuse, NY. https://surface.syr.edu/lerner/154/
Morrissey, T. W., Heflin, C. M., & Fannin, W. C. (2021, October). The U.S. must invest more in the child care subsidy program. Lerner Center for Public Health Promotin Health Research Brief Series. Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs: Syracuse, NY. https://surface.syr.edu/lerner/155/
Morrissey, T. W., Yamanis, N., & Sol, C. (2020, December). Local health policies and safety net programs affect resilience and health of Latinx immigrants. Research Brief, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders. https://2jywg813w195318ee51g9iti-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IRL-Issue-Brief-Prince-Georges-County.pdf
Novoa, C., & Morrissey, T. W. (2020, August). Adversity in early childhood: The role of policy in creating and addressing adverse childhood experiences. Center for American Progress: Washington, DC. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2020/08/27/489805/adversity-early-childhood/
Malik, R., & Morrissey, T. W. (2020, August). The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing millennial mothers out of the workforce. Center for American Progress: Washington, DC. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/news/2020/08/12/489178/covid-19-pandemic-forcing-millennial-mothers-workforce/
Morrissey, T. W., & Workman, S. (2020, August). Grants and contracts: A strategy for building the supply of subsidized infant and toddler child care. Center for American Progress: Washington, DC. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2020/08/04/488633/grants-contracts-strategy-building-supply-subsidized-infant-toddler-child-care/
Morrissey, T. W. (2020, February). Addressing the need for affordable, high-quality early childhood care and education for all in the United States. Equitable Growth 2020. Washington, DC: Washington Center for Equitable Growth. https://equitablegrowth.org/addressing-the-need-for-affordable-high-quality-early-childhood-care-and-education-for-all-in-the-united-states/
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
Morton Bender Prize, American University, 2020
Center for Health, Risk and Society (CHRS) Fellow Award, American University, 2019-2020
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leader Award, 2017-2020
Institute for Research on Poverty Visiting Food Assistance Scholar, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) /American Association for the Advance of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, 2008-2009
Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): Child Care Chaos and Children's Social-emotional Development and Stress. Grant # F32-HD-059795-01A1, 2008-2010 (declined)
Invited witness, Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, Education and Labor Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing on Solving America’s Child Care Crisis: Supporting Parents, Children, and the Economy, February 2020. https://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/solving-americas-child-care-crisis-supporting-parents-children-and-the-economy
Op-eds/Popular media publications:
Weiland, C., & Morrissey, T. (2021, October 8). It’s time for a comprehensive early childhood system, not another band-aid. The Globe Post. https://theglobepost.com/2021/10/08/us-early-childhood-system/
Morrissey, T. (2021, September 23). Congress can boost economic growth with childcare investments. Inside Sources. https://insidesources.com/congress-can-boost-economic-growth-with-childcare-investments/
Morrissey, T. (2021, May 21). Stop politicizing investments in our children. The Hill. https://thehill.com/opinion/education/554746-stop-politicizing-investments-in-our-children
Morrissey, T. (2021, April 19). Biden Administration’s $39 billion child care strategy: 5 questions answered. The Conversation. Republished in The Houston Chronicle and other outlets. https://theconversation.com/biden-administrations-39-billion-child-care-strategy-5-questions-answered-159119
Morrissey, T. (2021, April 14). It’s time to give children the education that they deserve. The Hill. https://thehill.com/opinion/education/548277-its-time-to-give-our-kids-the-education-they-deserve
Morrissey, T. (2021, April 8). The pandemic is far from over for working moms. Gender on the Ballot. https://www.genderontheballot.org/the-pandemic-is-far-from-over-for-working-moms/
Morrissey, T. (2021, February 24). The pandemic is hurting working mothers, but policy changes can help. Gender on the Ballot. https://www.genderontheballot.org/the-pandemic-is-hurting-working-mothers-but-policy-changes-can-help/
Morrissey, T. (2021, January 5). Fewer kids are enrolled in public kindergarten – that will have a lasting impact on schools and equity. The Conversation. Republished in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, the Houston Chronicle, and other outlets. https://theconversation.com/fewer-kids-are-enrolled-in-public-kindergarten-that-will-have-a-lasting-impact-on-schools-and-equity-151817
Morrissey, T. (2020, September 30). Our children deserve more from us. The Hill.
Morrissey, T. (2020, July 15). Kids’ school schedules have never matched parents’ work hours and the pandemic is making things worse. The Conversation. Republished in multiple news outlets including the Houston Chronicle, The Albany Times-Union, and the San Antonio Express-News.
Yamanis, N., Morrissey, T., Bochey, L., & Little, C. (2019, May 16). The DC Health Alliance is a model public health insurance program, but its burdensome requirements cause many eligible residents – and their health – to lose out. PoPville.
Morrissey, T. (2019, March 1). Why Congress needs to make child care more affordable: Five questions answered. The Conversation. Re-published in multiple news outlets including The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, The Albany Times-Union, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Idaho Press-Tribune.
Morrissey, T. (2018, March 9). Why child care costs more than college tuition – and how to make it more affordable. The Conversation. Re-published in over 30 news outlets including the Associated Press.
Area of Expertise
Impacts of public policy on child development; the impacts of public-and employer-supported child care on work/family balance; child care stability and children's development
Taryn Morrissey's research focuses on the impacts of public policy on child development. She examines socioeconomic, geographic, racial, and ethnic disparities in early opportunity and how early care and education, nutrition, income, and health programs and policies promote children’s short- and long-term outcomes and family well-being. Morrissey is a co-author of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality (2017 and 2021). She served as senior adviser on early childhood policy in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services and as a health policy advisor for the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, for Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. Tom Harkin. Her opinion articles have appeared in The Hill, CNBC, and other media outlets, and she is frequently interviewed by NPR, The New York Times, Vox, and other media outlets.