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The Fund for Journalism on Child and Youth Well-Being

Program Description: 

The Fund for Journalism on Child and Youth Well-Being supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, underwrites substantive reporting on vulnerable children, youth and families. Each grantee participates in the National Fellowship and receives a $2,500 to $10,000 grant, instead of the National Fellowship stipend, to support investigative or explanatory reporting on the impact of poverty and childhood trauma. Reporters may also choose to examine the performance of the institutions and government and private programs that serve these children, youth or families. We’re interested in proposals for projects that look at child welfare and child health and well-being, including, but not limited to, the impact of toxic stress; the intersection between partner violence and child abuse; the role of policy in improving prospects for children, including those in juvenile detention; the circumstances facing youth who have been involved with or are transitioning from the juvenile justice or foster systems; and innovative approaches to address and improve opportunities for children and youth in underserved communities. 

Child and Youth Well-being Fund grantees are also National Fellows and attend the July Fellowship sessions, but receive the Child and Youth Well-being grant instead of the $2,000 stipend for National Fellows. Applicants who are not selected to receive a Child and Youth Well-being grant are eligible to be considered for the National Fellowship and National stipend.

Who Can Apply: 

This Fellowship and its grant competitions are open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media throughout the United States, including freelancers. Applicants do not need to be full-time health reporters, but should have a demonstrated interest in health issues, broadly defined to include the health of communities. We prefer that applicants have a minimum of three years of professional experience; many have decades. Journalists writing for ethnic media are strongly encouraged to apply. Proposals for collaborative projects between mainstream and ethnic news outlets receive preference by our judges, as do projects produced for co-publication or co-broadcast in both mainstream and ethnic news outlets. Freelancers who apply should earn the majority of their income from journalism. Applicants must be based in the United States. Students and interns are ineligible.

Competition for the Child and Youth Well-Being grants is strong. Applicants should expect a high level of scrutiny of their proposed projects and budgets and research them accordingly. Applicants should specify the size of the grant they are seeking and provide justification for the amount; however, the judges reserve the right to award a lesser amount than sought. Applicants for a Child Well-Being grant should indicate in their applications if they are willing to accept a National Fellowship ($2,000 stipend) if they are not selected for a Child and Youth Well-Being grant and how their projects would differ, given the reduced stipend.

One third of the amount of the grant will be paid at the outset of the project, with the remaining two-thirds to be paid upon publication or broadcast. The grant is taxable to the extent required by law. Stories must be published or broadcast within six months of attending the Fellowship.

The current application period concludes March 27, 2020. Please contact Martha Shirk at if you have questions about your eligibility or wish to discuss your project idea (recommended).


The pandemic is far from over but crucial COVID-19 protections and benefits are gone. In our next webinar, we'll explore the end of renter protections, unemployment benefits and other emergency relief, and what it means for the nation’s pandemic recovery and the health and well-being of low-income people and their communities. Glean story ideas and crucial context. Sign-up here!

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 


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