Policy Update: April 2020

SRCD's Policy Update monitors policy developments in Washington, D.C., including federal priorities for developmental science, and legislation and programs relevant to child development. It also contains information on conferences and training opportunities, new reports, and requests for comments. Policy Update also highlights the work and experiences of SRCD Policy Fellows in the column Spotlight on the SRCD Policy Fellow.

SRCD Child and Family Policy News

Spotlights on SRCD U.S. Policy Fellows

Claudia Kruzik is a SRCD State Policy Pre-doctoral Fellow who is placed in the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. Read about her work on the Community Public Partnership Initiative grant, which is a state grant supporting grantee communities to improve preschool access and quality through local public-private partnerships. 

Ellen Litkowski, Ph.D., is a SRCD Federal Executive Branch Policy Fellow who is placed in the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read about her contributions to grants and contracts awarded and managed by OPRE as well as how her fellowship work has evolved in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Are you interested in learning more about the contributions that SRCD U.S. Policy Fellows have made at their placements? Visit the SRCD website to read Spotlights and abstracts describing their work.

New Social Policy Report on Infants and Toddlers Released

SRCD recently released a new Social Policy Report by Dr. Bruce Fuller and colleagues, “What Policies Advance Infants and Toddlers? Evidence to Inform State and Federal Options.” The report focuses on policy efforts to improve the organized capacity of parents, health professionals, and care providers to nurture and foster the growth of infants and toddlers, providing an overview of three policy levers to advance infants and toddlers’ development: paid leave, pediatric assessments, and quality caregiving practices.


Legislative Branch Updates


Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act Signed Into Law

On April 24, President Trump signed H.R. 266 the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act into law, a $483 billion COVID-19 relief bill. On April 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the relief bill with a 388-5 vote, following the Senate’s passage of the bill by voice vote on April 21. H.R. 266 replenishes funds for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a program managed by the Small Business Administration, and provides additional funds for hospitals to cover treatment costs and COVID-19 testing, expanding access to testing nationwide. Additionally, H.R. 266 includes funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among others.


Executive Branch Updates


James A. Griffin Appointed New Chief of CDBB at NICHD

James A. Griffin, Ph.D., has been appointed the new Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDBB) at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Griffin is an expert in early learning and school readiness research and served as Deputy Chief of CDBB since joining NICHD in 2004. Dr. Griffin has served as Acting Branch Chief of CDBB for the past year. Read the full announcement.

NIH Notices of Special Interest on COVID-19 Research Released

In response to COVID-19, several Institutes within the National Institutes of Health have released Notices of Special Interest (NOSI). These Institutes include, but are not limited to, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). These Institutes issued NOSIs to emphasize the critical need for research on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Please find more information about the individual notices below:  

  • NIDA is interested in research on the risks and outcomes for COVID-19 infected individuals with substance use disorders. More specifically, NIDA is interested in research on the “broad impacts of COVID-19 (e.g., school closures, food insecurity, anxiety, social isolation, family loss) on neurodevelopment, substance use, substance use disorders, and access to addiction treatment.” Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 31, 2021. Read more information about this NOSI
  • NICHD is one of the participating organizations for a NOSI on the need for social, behavioral, economic, health communication, and epidemiologic research on COVID-19. This NOSI solicits “competitive supplements and administrative supplements to existing longitudinal studies that address key social and behavioral questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” More specifically, NICHD is interested in research on vulnerable populations: pregnant and post-partum women, infants, children, and adolescents, individuals with physical and/or intellectual disabilities; and homeless children or foster care youth; among others. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through March 31, 2021. Read more information about this NOSI
  • The NIMH NOSI addresses the need to strengthen the mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies. NIMH is interested in research that delves into the following topics: “research on alternatives to traditional services that rely on an available workforce to meet emergency psychiatric needs. Projects to develop and test tools that enable health and social service workers to have real-time access to resources for case management and referral to medical/psychiatric treatment;” among others. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through April 15, 2021. Read more information about this NOSI
  • The NIMHD NOSI focuses on the need for research on the impact of COVID-19 on NIH-designated health disparity populations. This NOSI solicits research in health disparity populations “to understand: 1) how state and local policies and initiatives mitigate or exacerbate disparities in health services use and health outcomes; 2) the role that community-level protective and resilience factors and interventions have in mitigating the effects of the sector disruptions that the COVID-19 outbreak causes; and 3) how behavioral and/or biological mechanisms may contribute to COVID-19 manifestations." Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 1, 2021. Read more information about this NOSI.

NSF Requests Proposals for SBE Science Collaborations with Minority-Serving Institutions 
The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) welcomes the submission of conference proposals for an opportunity called Build & Broaden (B2). The goal of this Dear Colleague Letter is to foster collaborations with and among Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) with the aim of providing researchers with opportunities to diversify their research teams and building capacity for SBE-related research at MSIs. The National Science Foundation anticipates funding up to 10 conferences. Proposals are due by June 8, 2020. For more information about this opportunity and for additional guidance, read the Dear Colleague Letter. Questions about this Dear Colleague Letter should be directed to sbe-buildandbroaden@nsf.gov


In Case You Missed It

Request for Information: Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code Resulting from Federally Funded Research
The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Open Science extended the comment period for their request for information (RFI) on public access to May 6, 2020. 
NSF Request for Recommendations for Membership on Directorate and Office Advisory Committees  
The National Science Foundation (NSF) requests recommendations for memberships for their scientific and technical Federal advisory committees.


Federal Reports

New Reports and Briefs from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation 

Several new publications are available from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:  

(1) A Compendium of Administrative and Survey Data Resources in the Administration for Children and Families. This report includes summaries of twelve major ACF administrative data sources and seven surveys with the purpose of understanding and documenting the data collected by ACF that is or could be used for evidence-building.

(2) Compendium of Administrative Data Sources for Self-Sufficiency Research. This report summarizes promising administrative data sources for evaluation of economic and social interventions. 

(3) Touchpoints for Addressing Substance Use Issues in Home Visiting: Expanded Executive Summary of Phase 1 Final Report. This report and expanded executive summary describe what is known and what needs to be learned about the ways home visiting programs can effectively engage and support families affected by substance use issues.

(4) Methods for Promoting Open Science in Social Policy Research. This report summarizes an OPRE Methods Meeting on open science topics.

(5) Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants 2.0 Snapshots. These reports provide a snapshot of each Tribal HPOG 2.0 grantee, highlighting each program and describing outcomes from the first four years of program implementation.

(6) Building Savings, Ownership, and Financial Well-Being: First- and Third-Year Assets for Independence Program Randomized Evaluation Findings in Context. This report summarizes findings from an evaluation of two Assets for Independence (AFI) programs using a randomized controlled trial.

(7) Tribal TANF-Child Welfare Coordination: Collaboration Assessment Tool. This report describes the Collaboration Assessment Tool, a resource for Tribal TANF-Child Welfare Coordination grantees and other partnering human services programs to help them identify and operationalize various collaboration constructs, monitor collaboration efforts, and measure and track progress on collaboration and coordination.

(8) At a Glance: Native Language Use in Region XI Head Start Households. This report describes native language use among Region XI Head Start parents and their children.

(9) Ongoing Research and Program Evaluation Efforts Related to Justice-Involved Parents and Youth. This report describes ongoing research and evaluation projects at OPRE that are related to justice-involved, incarcerated, and formerly incarcerated parents and youth.

(10) Practicing Positive Organizational Culture in TANF Offices. This report distills key findings from a literature review conducted as part of the Understanding Poverty: TANF Office Culture study.

New Reports from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Several new publications are available from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

(1) Availability of Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Areas of High Foster Care Increases. This report describes the availability of opioid agonist therapy (OAT) in counties experiencing increases in foster care entry rates.

(2) Leveraging ACF Administrative Data for Evidence and Research. This report analyzes information on administrative data resources collected by ACF and explores how the data can be leveraged to improve evidence and research on ACF programs and beneficiaries.

(3) Persons in Low-Income Households Have Less Access to Internet Services. This report presents estimates of access to internet services for low-income families, as well as differences by demographic characteristics and geography.

(4) Facilitating Low-Income Families’ Use of Emergency Paid Family Leave: Considerations for Human Services Agencies in Supporting Workers and Their Employers. This report suggests lessons for facilitating the use of emergency paid family leave by lower-income families, drawing on research by ASPE on families’ participation in state paid family leave programs.

(5) Virtual Case Management Considerations and Resources for Human Services Programs. This report outlines technology and practice considerations and resources for human services programs rapidly adopting virtual case management approaches in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Reports and Briefs from the Institute of Education Sciences

Several new publications are available from the National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education:    

(1) Postsecondary Occupational Education Among Students Who Took Career and Technical Education in High School. This report examines the postsecondary enrollment rates of students who took career and technical education (CTE) in high school and their pursuit of further study in related CTE fields.

(2) Public School Principals’ Top Three Most Important Education Goals, by Charter Status and School Level. This report investigates the relationship between various education goals, chosen as important by public school principals, by charter status (traditional public or public charter), and school levels.

(3) A Look at Principals’ Most Important Goals by Community Type and School Level. This report investigates the relationship between various education goals, chosen as important by public school principals, by different community types and school levels.

(4) Courses Taken, Credits Earned, and Time to Degree: A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts of 2011–12 Beginning Postsecondary Students. This report examines 6-year course taking experiences, postsecondary attainment, and time to degree of U.S. undergraduates who began their postsecondary education for the first time in the 2011–12 academic year.

(5) From Algebra to Zoology: How Well Do Students Report Mathematics and Science Course taking? This report describes a study measuring the validity of the mathematics and science course taking information reported by high school students by comparing it to information obtained from the NAEP High School Transcript Study (HSTS).

(6) The Nation's Report Card: 2018 U.S. History, Geography, and Civics at Grade 8, Highlights ReportsThese reports present an overview of results from the NAEP 2018 civics, geography, and U.S. history reports and includes national results on the performance of eighth grade students: 2018 NAEP Civic Assessment Highlights2018 NAEP Geography Assessment Highlights2018 NAEP U.S. History Highlights.

(7) Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States: Results From the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey First Look. This report provides descriptive statistics and basic information from the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey Public School Teacher and Private School Teacher Data Files.

(8) U.S. PIAAC Skills Map: State and County Indicators of Adult Literacy and Numeracy. This tool allows users to access estimates of adult literacy and numeracy proficiency in all U.S. states and counties through heat maps and summary card displays.

(9) 2017-18 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) Public-Use Data File User's Manual. This manual contains information about the sample design, data collection, imputation, and weighting procedures for the public-use data file for the 2017-18 SSOCS.

(10) Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy. This report summarizes the research on Web-Based Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy (ITSS), a web-based program that provides supplemental literacy instruction and practice for students in kindergarten to grade 8.

(11) Intervention Report Word Generation: English Language Learners. This report summarizes the research on the effectiveness of Word Generation, a supplemental program that aims to improve students’ reading comprehension by building students’ vocabulary, academic language, and perspective-taking skills through classroom discussion and debate, for English learners. 

(12) The eMINTS Comprehensive Program. This report summarizes the research on the eMINTS Comprehensive Program, which aims to help teachers improve their practice and the outcomes of their students by offering structured professional development, coaching, and support for integrating technology into the classroom.

(13)  Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC): State and County Estimation Methodology Report. This report describes the statistical methodology used to produce estimates of average scores and high, middle, and low proficiency levels of adult skills for every state and county in the United States.

(14) Labor Market Outcomes for High School Career and Technical Education Participants: 2016. This report examines how the early labor market outcomes of public high school graduates vary by the number of career and technical education credits earned during high school.

(15) 2018-19 Common Core of Data (CCD) Universe Files. These data files are the product of the Common Core of Data (CCD) data collection for the 2018-19 school year and include data at state, district, and school levels, include staff counts by professional category, and student membership disaggregated by grade, race/ethnicity, and sex.

(16) Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, Third-Grade, Fourth-Grade, and Fifth-Grade Psychometric Report. This report describes the design, development, administration, quality control procedures, and psychometric characteristics of the direct and indirect child assessment instruments used to measure the knowledge, skills, and development of young children participating in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) in the third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade data collections.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The April 2020 FFO lists over 100 funding opportunities for research, evaluation, and dissemination. Below we highlight a few funding opportunities from this month's FFO: 

(1) Four National Institutes of Health (NIH) Notices of Special Interest (NOSI) for research on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus:  

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse; 
  • National Institute of Mental Health; 
  • National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; and 
  • Varying NIH Institutes/Centers that focus on social and behavioral sciences research.  

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the expiration date, which varies by NOSI.

(2) Two Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) funding opportunities to support dissertation research by advanced graduate students who are working in partnership with Head Start programs (Head Start Dissertation Grants; applications due by June 5, 2020) or on child care policy issues in partnership with a Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) agency or administrator (Child Care Dissertation Grants; applications due by June 4, 2020).

(3) Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funding opportunity: (a) Statistical and Research Methodology in Education grant program, which is intended to support the development of a wide range of methodological and statistical tools to better enable applied education scientists to conduct rigorous education research. (b) Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Policymaking grant program, which is intended to expand the research use of State Longitudinal Data Systems to examine long-term learner outcomes and pathways in order to provide evidence for State education policymaking. Applications are due by June 30, 2020.

Read about these and other funding opportunities