Policy Update: July 2021

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

New Social Policy Report: The United States Should Recognize and Support Caregiving Youth

SRCD recently released a new Social Policy Report by Emma Armstrong-Carter, Ph.D. Candidate, Catherine Johnson, M.D./M.P.H student, Julia Belkowitz, M.D., M.P.H, Connie Siskowski, R.N., Ph.D., and Elizabeth Olson, Ph.D. titled “The United States Should Recognize and Support Caregiving Youth.” The report provides an overview of how caregiving affects youth’s academic, social, and emotional well-being, highlights emerging evidence from the public school-based 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for the State of Florida, and discusses promising targeted social programs. The report concludes with policy recommendations to support caregiving youth in the United States.

Spotlight on the SRCD Policy Fellow - Dianna Tran

Dianna Tran, Ph.D., is a SRCD Federal Executive Branch Policy 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 her fellowship work, which includes working with OPRE’s Race Equity Workgroup to identify how to make research and evaluation more equitable, has informed her understanding of the relationship between research, policy, and practice. 

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 describing the contributions SRCD U.S. Policy Fellows have made at their placements. 


SRCD Child and Family Policy Resources

Save the Date: ACF National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2022

The Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2022 (NRCEC 2022) will be held from June 27-29, 2022, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. The three-day conference will include numerous events on the latest research on Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, home visiting, child welfare, and more. The 2022 conference will feature plenary sessions, symposia, poster symposia, and poster sessions, as well as other events.


Legislative Branch Updates

FY 2022 Appropriations Update

House Considers FY 2022 Seven-Bill Appropriations Package

This U.S. House of Representatives began consideration of H.R. 4502, a Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations spending package, this week. The package includes seven of the 12 annual FY 2022 appropriations bills: (1) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; (2) Agriculture-Rural Development-Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; (3) Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; (4) Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; (5) Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; (6) Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies; and (7) Financial Services and General Government. Read the House Committee on Appropriations’ bill summaries for more information about the bills. Of note, the U.S. Senate has not yet advanced appropriations bills, but the Senate Committee on Appropriations plans to consider bills before the August recess. According to CQ, the Senate Committee on Appropriations may markup Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bills before the upcoming August recess.

Interested in funding for specific federal science agencies? Read the Consortium for Social Science Associations’ (COSSA) analysis of the House FY 2022 appropriations bills for more information about the status of this process for federal science agencies.

Additional Hearings of Interest

  • Investing in the Care Workforce. On July 20, the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on “Care for Our Communities: Investing in the Direct Care Workforce.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies
  • U.S. Immigration Policies and the Workforce. On July 13, the Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing titled “Oh, Canada! How Outdated U.S. Immigration Policies Push Top Talent to Other Countries.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies

Executive Branch Updates

Submit Ideas: NICHD’s STRIVE Initiative

The STrategies to EnRich Inclusion and AchieVe Equity (STRIVE) initiative, led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Office of Health Equity, seeks input on the STRIVE initiative and health disparities research broadly. The initiative is comprised of three committees that address the following areas: “studying health disparities, diversifying the broader scientific workforce, and enhancing [equity, diversity, and inclusion] opportunities within NICHD.” The STRIVE Health Disparities Research Committee requests ideas on health disparities across NICHD’s portfolio. Please note stakeholder ideas will help inform the STRIVE Action Plan that will supplement the NICHD 2020 Strategic Plan. To learn more about this opportunity or submit an idea, visit NICHD’s website.

NIH and OSTP Host Listening Sessions

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are hosting virtual listening sessions to discuss the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) initiative and get feedback from stakeholders (e.g., advocacy organizations, scientific professional organizations). The listening sessions cover a variety of research areas, including but not limited to addiction and alcoholism; child and maternal health; and research on neurology and mental health. For a comprehensive list of upcoming events, visit NIH’s website

Task Force Hosts Listening Sessions on Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking

The Task Force on Scientific Integrity will host three virtual listening sessions this month (July 28-30) on scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking. Consistent with President Joe Biden’s Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, the sessions will ultimately inform the evaluation of scientific integrity policies and best practices at the federal level. Each session will cover a different topic, ranging from: effective communication policies and practices to the effectiveness of Federal scientific integrity policies in promoting trust. For a comprehensive list of upcoming events, read the White House's announcement.

RFI: Improving Federal Scientific Integrity Policies

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive Office of the President, issued a request for information (RFI) on opportunities to improve Federal scientific integrity policies and public trust in science. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum (i.e., Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking) that laid the groundwork for this effort. The memorandum directed OSTP to assemble an interagency task force under the National Science and Technology Council to evaluate the effectiveness of extant policies. Currently, OSTP is seeking information about how to improve policies. More specifically, OSTP is interested in information about: “(1) The effectiveness of Federal scientific integrity policies and needed areas of improvement; (2) good practices Federal agencies could adopt to improve scientific integrity, including in the communication of scientific information, addressing emerging technologies and evolving scientific practices, supporting professional development of Federal scientists, and promoting transparency in the implementation of agency scientific integrity policies; and (3) other topics or concerns that Federal scientific integrity policies should address.” Read the RFI for more information and consider submitting a comment. Interested parties should submit comments by July 28, 2021.

RFI: Streamlining Access to Controlled Data from NIH Repositories 

The Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), released a request for information (RFI) on “Streamlining Access to Controlled Data from NIH Data Repositories.” NIH seeks input on “...strategies for harmonizing, simplifying, and streamlining mechanisms for accessing data in NIH-supported controlled-access data repositories that continue to uphold robust data privacy and security protections. In particular, NIH would like to understand better researchers’ experiences in finding and accessing controlled access data housed in NIH-supported repositories and the extent to which existing NIH policies address aggregation and linkage of controlled access data.” Read the RFI for more information about this request and learn about other NIH efforts to address data access issues. Interested parties should submit comments by August 9, 2021.

NSF Seeks Candidates for Social and Economic Sciences Division Director

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks input on potential candidates for the Social and Economic Sciences Division Director position located within NSF’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. According to NSF, “The division director serves as a member of the directorate’s leadership team and as a principal NSF spokesperson for social and economic sciences. The division director works with the deputy division director to provide leadership for the Social and Economic Sciences Division which is responsible for funding research and related activities aimed at advancing our fundamental understanding of how people live, work, and cooperate with one another. The evidence and insight that researchers generate with the division’s support help improve quality of life, institutional effectiveness, and economic prosperity for the U.S.”

NSF is particularly interested in “...identifying women, members of underrepresented minority groups and persons with disabilities for consideration. Areas of importance for the directorate include interdisciplinary research and the development of infrastructure to support new approaches for gathering and analyzing data related to the social and economic sciences.” For more information, read NSF’s announcement or view the position announcement. Please note applications are due by August 6, 2021.

Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce

On June 25, President Joe Biden issued an “Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce.” The executive order refers to one of President Biden’s first executive orders, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which affirmed the President's commitment to advancing racial equity in the Federal Government, and calls attention to a new initiative. The new executive order “...establishes that it is the policy of my Administration to cultivate a workforce that draws from the full diversity of the Nation... the Federal Government must strengthen its ability to recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain our Nation’s talent and remove barriers to equal opportunity. It must also provide resources and opportunities to strengthen and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the Federal Government. The Federal Government should have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the American people.” Read the executive order for more information about the provisions included in the executive order.


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) Descriptive Data on Head Start Children and Families from the Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2019: Fall 2019 Data Tables and Study Design. The purpose of this report is to (a) provide information about the FACES study, including the background, design, methodology, assessments, and analytic methods; and (b) report detailed descriptive statistics (averages, response ranges, and percentages) and related standard errors (the estimate of the standard deviation of each statistic) in a series of tables on children and their families.

(2) Conceptual Model of Judicial Decision-Making and Hearing Quality in Child WelfareThis report presents a conceptual model that describes how components of judicial decision-making and child welfare hearing quality relate to the case process and outcomes for children and families.

(3) Economic Conditions of Head Start Families: Connections with Social Supports and Child and Family Well-BeingThis report explores how families experience and perceive available resources and whether the measurement of constructs such as material hardship, financial strain, and social support provide better predictors of family and child well-being than measuring household income alone.

(4) Final Report of the Descriptive Study of the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) Program: Service Provision, Trends, and Evaluation RecommendationsThis report aims to better understand the range of child welfare services and benefits provided through individual URM programs. It also aims to lay the foundation for future evaluations of the URM Program.

(5) Approaches to Meeting the Needs of Children and Parents Together in the Context of Head Start: Four Head Start University Partnership (HSUP) Grants. In this report, the four HSUP grantees introduce their research projects, highlighting the goals and key features of each intervention, their approach to meeting the needs of children and parents together, and the targeted outcomes of the interventions.

(6) Working Together for Children and Families: Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) PartnershipsThis report provides detailed information about the EHS and child care programs participating in EHS-CC Partnerships, as well as the activities they engaged in to develop and maintain partnerships and deliver services to infants, toddlers, and families.

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) Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors, 20th Report to CongressThis report provides welfare dependence indicators through 2018 for most indicators and through 2019 for other indicators, reflecting changes that have taken place since enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996.

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) Teacher Training to Meet Diverse Student Needs Before Entering the Classroom: Teacher Preparation in 2017-18This report looks at preservice coursework taken by public and private school teachers to meet the needs of diverse student populations before the coronavirus pandemic.

(2) Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2020. A joint effort by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this report examines crime occurring in schools and colleges and covers topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, the presence of security staff at school, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions.

(3) Technical Report and User Guide for the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA): Data Files and Database with U.S.-Specific VariablesThis report is designed to provide researchers with an overview of the design and implementation of PISA 2018, as well as information on how to access the PISA 2018 data.

(4) Technical Report and User Guide for the 2016 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Young Adult Follow-up Study (YAFS)This report is designed to provide researchers with an overview of the design and implementation of PISA YAFS 2016, as well as with information on how to access the PISA YAFS 2016 data.

(5) A Guide to Identifying Similar Schools to Support School ImprovementThis report describes how an education agency can select a distance measure (a statistical rather than a geographic measure) to identify schools that are similar to a target school, using a variety of characteristics that enable school leaders to better understand their schools’ relative performance.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The July 2021 FFO lists over 100 funding opportunities for research, evaluation, and dissemination. Below we highlight a few funding opportunities from this month's FFO: 

(1) Grant to Meet the Needs of American Indian Students in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: This Department of Education (ED) funding opportunity will support Tribal educational agencies (TEAs) in the provision of direct services to Indian children and youth. Applications are due by September 13, 2021.

(2) Grant to Elucidate How Occupation Influences U.S. Health Disparities: This National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding opportunity will support innovative population-based research that can contribute to identifying and characterizing pathways and mechanisms through which work or occupation influences health outcomes and health status among populations with health and/or health care disparities, and how work functions as a social determinant of health. Applications are due by October 5, 2021.

(3) Grant to Study Improving the Delivery of Perinatal Depression Prevention Interventions: This National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funding opportunity will support research addressing major gaps identified in the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement concerning interventions to prevent perinatal depression, with an emphasis on populations experiencing mental health disparities. Applications are due by November 9, 2021.     

(4) Grant to Advance Informal STEM Learning: This National Science Foundation (NSF) funding opportunity will advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments. Applications are due by January 18, 2022.

Read about these and other funding opportunities.