Policy Update: July 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

Callie Silver, M.A., is a SRCD State Policy Pre-doctoral Fellow who is placed in the Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development. Read about how her work has changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and her work on the Pyramid Model, an early childhood Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) framework. 

Krystal Bichay-Awadalla, Ph.D., is a SRCD Federal Executive Branch Fellow who is placed in the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Read about how the fellowship has informed her understanding of the importance of communication, dissemination, and collaboration when addressing the policies that support the nation’s most underserved populations. 

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 Released: Nurturing Social-Emotional Development to Promote Mental Health

SRCD recently released a new Social Policy Report by Dr. Tina Malti, “Children and Violence: Nurturing Social‐Emotional Development to Promote Mental Health.” The report describes research‐informed attempts to prevent violence exposure across development and uses a humanistic, strength‐based perspective to focus on social‐emotional protective factors to address violence and nurture mental health in every child. 

Bring your Expertise to SRCD! Call for Nominations for 2021 Elections

SRCD is pleased to announce the 2021 call for nominations for Governing Council (including President-Elect, Secretary, and Members-at-Large), eight (8) SRCD Committees, and Student and Early Career Council (SECC) representatives to each of the committees. Current SRCD members are eligible to nominate, and self-nominations are encouraged! 
The Governing Council is the governing body of the Society and oversees its business and affairs. Interested in SRCD’s Governing Council? There are four (4) open positions for SRCD’s Governing Council (GC): two (2) nominees will be elected by the membership of SRCD, and two (2) nominees will be appointed by GC to maximize diversity of representation. Members-At-Large serve on GC for 6-year terms. For a full roster of current GC Members, visit the Governing Council page.

We hope that you consider joining SRCD’s Science and Social Policy Committee, or one of the other committees with open seats, including the Equity and Justice Committee, the Ethnic and Racial Issues Committee, the Finance/Audit Committee, the Interdisciplinary Committee, the International Affairs Committee, the Publications Committee, and the Teaching Committee. 

Membership is not required to be nominated although those elected and appointed must agree to join SRCD for the duration of their term. Elected and appointed individuals from each category will take office immediately following the April 2021 Biennial Meeting. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, September 8th at 11:59 pm EasternRead the full call for nominations for more information

SRCD Co-Develops Amicus Brief on Gender-Differentiated Policies and Practices

SRCD, along with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Cognitive Development Society, and the Society for Research on Adolescence, submitted an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs-appellees-cross appellants in a United States Court of Appeals case (Bonnie Peltier v. Charter Day School, Inc.). The amicus brief was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by the counsel for the amici curiae, Morrison & Foerster LLP.

In Bonnie Peltier v. Charter Day School, Inc., a charter school in North Carolina was sued for enforcing a dress code requiring girls to wear skirts. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued on behalf of three families, stating that the school requirement was based on unlawful gender stereotypes, constituted prohibited sex discrimination, and has harmful implications on the girls’ development. The court ruled in their favor, and the school is now appealing the case. 

At the request of the ACLU, an amicus brief was produced to address a narrow but important issue in this case: the effects that gender labels and gender-differentiated policies and practices can have on children—and on girls in particular—in school settings. Contrary to the Charter Day School’s arguments, developmental research suggests that policies and practices, like the girl skirt requirement, perpetuate and reinforce harmful gender stereotypes related to adverse effects on their academic, mental, and social development. 


Legislative Branch Updates

FY 2021 Appropriations Update

House Passes FY 2021 Spending Packages On July 24, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7607, a four-bill appropriations package, with a 224-189 vote. The $259.5 billion package includes State-Foreign Operations, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, Interior-Environment, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bills. Read the House Committee on Appropriations’ summary of H.R. 7608 for more information about this package.

On July 31, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7617, a six-bill appropriations package, with a 217-197 vote along party lines. Read the House Committee on Appropriations' summary of H.R. 7617 for more information about this package. The $1.3 trillion package includes the following FY 2021 spending bills: Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Service and General Government, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. Below are funding highlights for a few agencies and institutes that may be of interest to SRCD members (based on a House Committee on Appropriations summary):  

  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF): the package includes $24.8 billion in discretionary funding for ACF, which is a $317 million increase above the FY 2020 enacted level.  
  • Census Bureau: the package includes $1.68 billion for the Census Bureau.  
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): the package includes $8 billion for the CDC, which is a $232 million increase above the FY 2020 enacted level. The bill also includes $9 billion in “emergency supplemental appropriations for CDC to improve the nation’s preparedness for public health emergencies.”
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): the package includes $47 billion for NIH, which is a $5.5 billion increase above the FY 2020 enacted level.   
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): the package includes $8.55 billion for NSF, which is a $270 million increase above the FY 2020 enacted level. 

According to CQ, “The Senate [has not] yet taken up any of its fiscal 2021 spending bills, which have not yet even been introduced in that chamber's Appropriations Committee due to a dispute between the parties over what amendments can be considered.”

Additional Hearings of Interest

House Committee Holds Hearing on Children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Custody
On July 15, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing on “Children in CBP Custody: Examining Deaths, Medical Care Procedures, and Improper Spending.” Witnesses included: Fiona S. Danaher, M.D., M.P.H., Pediatrician, Chelsea Pediatrics, Child Protection Team, Massachusetts General Hospital, Instructor in Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., M.D., Chief Medical Examiner, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Washington D.C., Clinical Professor of Pathology, George Washington University, Associate Professor of Surgery, Howard University; Joseph V. Cuffari, Ph.D., Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Rebecca Gambler, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, U.S. Government Accountability Office. View the full recording and read member statements and witness testimonies.    

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on How to Safely Reopen Public Schools
On July 23, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education of the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on school reopenings, “Underfunded & Unprepared: Examining How to Overcome Obstacles to Safely Reopen Public Schools.” Witnesses included: Michael Hinojosa, Ed.D., Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District; Leslie Boggs, President, National Parent Teacher Association; Penny Schwinn, Ph.D., Commissioner of Education, Tennessee Department of Education; and Sean O'Leary, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, Vice Chair, Committee on Infectious Diseases, American Academy of Pediatrics. View the full recording and read member statements and witness testimonies.


Executive Branch Updates


President Trump Issues Memorandum Excluding Unauthorized Immigrants from Congressional Apportionment

On July 21, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on, “Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census.” The memorandum calls for the exclusion of unauthorized immigrants (under the Immigration and Nationality Act) from the apportionment base. The memorandum directs the Secretary of Commerce to provide the President with a report that excludes the number of unauthorized immigrants from the apportionment count reported in the census results. This change would alter population information used to divvy up congressional seats among the states. The memorandum states, “For the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the discretion delegated to the executive branch.” Read the full presidential memorandum for more information.

ICE Extends Guidance Limiting New International Students’ Ability to Study 100% Online

On July 24, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extended Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance for the upcoming fall school term. In March 2020, ICE issued guidance for nonimmigrant students and schools that participate in the SEVP that “enable[d] schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19. The March 2020 guidance applie[d] to nonimmigrant students who were actively enrolled at a U.S. school on March 9 and [were] otherwise complying with the terms of their nonimmigrant status, whether from inside the U.S. or abroad…In accordance with March 2020 guidance, nonimmigrant students in new or initial status after March 9 will not be able to enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school as a nonimmigrant student for the fall term to pursue a full course of study that is 100 percent online.” Read the full news release for more information.

NIH and NSF Issue Guidance on Implementation of OMB Flexibilities

In response to an Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum (M-20-26) addressed to the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued updated guidance regarding extensions to the Memorandum M-20-17. Read the National Institutes of Health's and National Science Foundation's guidance.


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) Competencies of Infant and Toddler Teachers and Caregivers: A Compendium of MeasuresThis report highlights measures that can be used to assess the competencies of infant and toddler teachers and caregivers who work in group care settings.    

(2) Tribal TANF-Child Welfare Coordination: Collaboration Assessment ToolThis report describes the Collaboration Assessment Tool, which is intended to help current and future Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)-Child Welfare Coordination grantees assess their initiatives’ partnership performance in a concrete and measurable way. 

(3) Developing Strong Recruitment Practices for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) Programs Serving Adults. This report describes five steps for building recruitment capacity in HMRE programs serving adults. 

(4) Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) 2.0 SnapshotsThese reports highlight key features of each Tribal HPOG 2.0 program and describes outcomes from the first four years of program implementation

(5) Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships: Partnering to Improve the Quality of Infant-Toddler CareThis report describes the quality improvement activities of Early Head Start and child care programs participating in EHS-CC Partnerships.

(6) Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships: Providing Comprehensive Services to Infants and Toddlers and Their FamiliesThis report describes the range of services Early Head Start and child care programs provide to children and families through EHS-CC Partnerships.

(7) Pathways-to-Outcomes: How Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) Program Activities May Lead to Intended OutcomesThis report presents three “Pathways-to-Outcomes” models for HMRE programs serving adult couples. 

(8) Pathways-To-Outcomes: How Responsible Fatherhood Program Activities May Lead To Intended OutcomesThis report presents four “Pathways-to-Outcomes” models for Responsible Fatherhood programs, each focusing on one outcome domain measured in the Parents and Children Together evaluation. 

(9) Early Care and Education in Rural CommunitiesThis report provides a descriptive comparison of the early care and education (ECE) landscape across rural, moderate density urban (suburban), and high density urban areas to understand if ECE availability and characteristics in rural areas differ from those in more densely-populated communities.

(10) The 2015 Cohort of Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) Grantees: Interim Report on Grantee Programs and ClientsThis report summarizes characteristics of the 2015 cohort of HMRF grantees, including the clients they served, the services they provided, and ways clients have changed from the beginning to the end of the program.

New Reports and Briefs 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) Strategies Rural Communities Use to Address Substance Misuse Among Families in the Child Welfare SystemThis report and accompanying research summary describe nine programs and highlight ways they have addressed challenges to serving child welfare-involved parents with substance use issues, with a particular focus on their applicability to rural communities.

(2) Supporting Employment Among Lower-Income Mothers: Paid Family Leave and Child Care ArrangementsThis report describes a qualitative study examining lower-income mothers’ attachment to work around the time of childbirth and the role of state paid family leave programs in supporting their return to employment. 

(3) Early Care and Education (ECE) Arrangements of Children Under Age FiveThis report describes findings on how nonparental ECE arrangements for children under age five have changed over the last two decades and whether families are more likely to pay out-of-pocket expenditures toward these arrangements.

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) Parent and Family Involvement in Education: 2019This report presents data about various aspects of parent involvement in education and reasons for choosing the child’s school.

(2) One Year After a Bachelor’s Degree: A Profile of 2015–16 GraduatesThis report presents outcomes of 2015–16 bachelor’s degree recipients 1 year after graduation.

(3) How Legacy High School Students Use Their Flexible TimeThis report describes how students at Legacy High School used their flexible time and whether their use of flexible time varied by demographic characteristics and academic achievement level.  

(4) Implementation of Career- and College‑Ready Requirements for High School Graduation in WashingtonThis report describes a study examining the implementation of career- and college-ready (CCR) graduation requirements in Washington state high schools. 

(5)  Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019This report presents data on crime at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals, and the general population from an array of sources.

(6) First-Time Subbaccalaureate Students: An Overview of Their Institutions, Programs, Completion, and Labor Market Outcomes After 3 YearsThis report examines the 3-year completion and employment outcomes of students who first entered postsecondary certificate and associate’s degree programs in 2011–12.

(7) Forum Guide to Data GovernanceThis report highlights the multiple ways that data governance programs can benefit education agencies.

(8) Using Data from Schools and Child Welfare Agencies to Predict Near-Term Academic RisksThis report describes a study providing information to administrators, research offices, and student support offices in local education agencies (LEAs) interested in identifying students who are likely to have near-term academic problems such as absenteeism, suspensions, poor grades, and low performance on state tests.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The July 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) NIH: Promoting Research on Music and Health: Phased Innovation Award for Music Interventions. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to promote innovative research on music and health with an emphasis on developing music interventions aimed at understanding their mechanisms of action and clinical applications for the treatment of many diseases, disorders, and conditions. Applications are due by October 2, 2020. 

(2) NIH: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. The purpose of this award is to enhance the diversity of the health-related research workforce by supporting the research training of predoctoral students from diverse backgrounds including those from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical research workforce. Applications are due by August 8, 2020.

(3) NIH: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Senior Fellowship. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards senior individual research training fellowships to experienced scientists who wish to make major changes in the direction of their research careers or who wish to broaden their scientific background by acquiring new research capabilities as independent investigators in research fields relevant to the missions of participating NIH Institutes and Centers. Applications are due by August 8, 2020.

Read about these and other funding opportunities.