Policy Update: March 2022

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: Transforming Policy Standards to Promote Equity and Developmental Success Among Latinx Youth

SRCD recently released a new Social Policy Report by Lorena Aceves, Ph.D., M.S., Daniel Max Crowley, Ph.D., Brenda Rincon, B.S., and Diamond Bravo, Ph.D., M.A., titled, “Transforming Policy Standards to Promote Equity and Developmental Success Among Latinx Youth.” The report provides an overview of a holistic approach to advance Latinx children and youth’s development by exploring theoretical frameworks, educational programs (e.g., McNair Scholars Program), and federal policies under the last two U.S. Administrations and within the state of California. The report also emphasizes the importance of redefining standards of success and addressing intersectional inequalities.

Spotlight on the SRCD Policy Fellow

Jackie Gross, Ph.D., is a SRCD 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 work, which ranges from developing research questions to disseminating and translating research findings, has advanced OPRE’s mission to improve the lives of children and families.

Dianna Tran, Ph.D., is a SRCD 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 Dianna’s work at OPRE, including the Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis (CCEEPRA) project. This project involves addressing policy and practice-relevant questions related to a variety of topics, including COVID-19 and workforce issues.

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.

Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PIBBS) Issue Released – Featuring SRCD Members

SRCD partnered with the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) on two calls for submissions on policy-relevant research linking child development research and policy for FABBS’ Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences (PIBBS) journal. As part of its mission to educate, communicate, and advocate for behavioral and brain sciences, FABBS publishes PIBBS twice a year, each issue themed by member societies. SRCD is a FABBS member society.

PIBBS Volume 9, Issue 1, which was released in March 2022, is the second and final issue of this FABBS-SRCD collaboration featuring SRCD members. Interested in learning more? Visit FABBS’ website to learn more about the publication and read the new PIBBS issue to explore the literature.


Legislative Branch Updates

FY 2022 Appropriations Update

President Biden Signs FY 2022 Omnibus Spending Bill Into Law

On March 15, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 2471 the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022” into law, completing the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations process for the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2021. H.R. 2471, an omnibus spending package, totaling $1.5 trillion, includes all annual FY 2022 appropriations bills, supplemental emergency funding for Ukraine, as well as funding for a variety of other measures. The spending package includes nearly equal increases in defense and non-defense funding, and, by and large, the final funding allocations for federal science agencies (e.g., the National Institutes of Health (NIH)) are less than the amount proposed earlier in the process by the Biden Administration and in U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate bills. The Senate previously passed the package on March 10th, following the House’s passage on March 9th. Both chambers passed the package with bipartisan support. Of note, Congress also passed a 4-day continuing resolution, H.J. Res 75 the “Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2022,” to provide continuing funding to federal agencies when the previous stopgap funding measure that funded the federal government expired on March 11, 2022. According to CQ, the White House plans to release President Biden’s FY 2023 budget for the upcoming fiscal year on March 28, 2022. Interested in learning more about FY 2022 appropriations for specific federal science agencies? Read the Consortium of Social Science Associations’ (COSSA) breakdown of FY 2022 funding.

Additional Hearings of Interest

Federal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programs. On March 23, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on “Strengthening Federal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programs: Opportunities, Challenges, and Emerging Issues.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Child Care and Preschool: Affordability. On March 22, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing on “Child Care and Preschool: Cutting Costs for Working Families.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Charitable Giving and the Non-Profit Sector. On March 17, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on “Examining Charitable Giving and Trends in the Nonprofit Sector.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Home Visiting and Improving Family Outcomes. On March 16, the  Worker and Family Support Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on “Improving Family Outcomes Through Home Visiting.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Retirement Security and Mental Health Access. On March 1, the Subcommittee of the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on “Improving Retirement Security and Access to Mental Health Benefits.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Economic Mobility and the Importance of Hispanic and Other Minority Serving Institutions. On March 2, the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on “Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions and Other Minority Serving Institutions.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Substance Use and Suicide Risk. On March 2, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on “Substance Use, Suicide Risk, and the American Health System.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.


Executive Branch Updates


NICHD Listening Sessions on the STRIVE Initiative

As part of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s (NICHD) STrategies to EnRich Inclusion and AchieVe Equity (STRIVE) Initiative, the STRIVE Scientific Workforce Diversity (SWD) Committee hosted two listening sessions on March 22 and March 24 to gather input on the recruitment and retention of diverse individuals as trainees or investigators in medicine or biomedical research. The sessions will inform an upcoming workshop, “A Pathway to Enhancing Workforce Diversity”, which will be hosted by the STRIVE SWD Committee later this year. Additional details for the workshop will be shared in the coming weeks. To learn more about the initiative, visit the STRIVE Initiative’s website.

NIH RFI: NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a request for information soliciting feedback on “The Framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA).” The RFI notes, “the purpose of the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for DEIA is to articulate NIH’s vision for embracing, integrating, and strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) across all NIH activities to achieve the NIH mission. The Strategic Plan will capture activities that NIH will undertake to meet the vision of the Strategic Plan, and will be organized around accomplishments, needs, opportunities, and challenges in addressing DEIA in the NIH workforce, its structure and culture, and the research it supports. NIH has implemented a range of other past and current initiatives and is planning initiatives in the future to advance DEIA. Among them, the UNITE initiative was established in 2021 to identify and address structural racism within the NIH-supported and the greater scientific community. Please note that an RFI on a Draft 2022-2026 Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD) Strategic Plan was released on January 12, 2022 and, therefore, open for public comment at the same time as a Framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). You are encouraged to respond to both.” Read the full RFI for more information about this opportunity and consider submitting a comment. Interested parties should submit comments by April 3, 2022.

NIH Seeks Applications for OBSSR Director/Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), seeks applications for the position of Director, OBSSR. Of note, the Director also serves as the NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (ADBSSR). This position has trans-NIH responsibilities, including “coordinating the development of NIH policies, goals, and objectives and functioning as a liaison between the NIH and the extramural behavioral, social sciences, and biomedical research communities; and with other Federal agencies, academic and scientific societies, national voluntary health agencies, the media, and the general public on matters pertaining to behavioral and social sciences research. The ADBSSR/Director, OBSSR serves as an NIH spokesperson for issues in behavioral and social sciences research and advises and consults with NIH and other scientists within and outside the Federal Government with regard to research on the importance of behavioral, social and lifestyle factors in the etiology, treatment, and prevention of disease.” Among other qualifications, NIH notes “Applicants must possess a Ph.D., M.D., or comparable doctorate degree in the behavioral, social, or behavioral sciences plus senior-level scientific experience and knowledge of research programs in one or more scientific areas related to behavioral and social sciences research. They should be known and respected within their profession as individuals of scientific prominence, with a distinguished record of research accomplishments and expertise in policy development regarding behavioral and social sciences research.” For more information, read the position announcement. Please note NIH will begin reviewing application on May 14, 2022 and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

NSF Seeks Proposals for Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE) Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is launching a new program titled, “Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems” (POSE). The primary goals of the program are to “...harness the power of open-source development for the creation of new technology solutions to problems of national and societal importance.” Building on the understanding that many NSF-funded projects ultimately produce publicly available open-sourced software, hardware or data platforms, the POSE program aims to fund new open-source ecosystem (OSE) managing organizations that will be responsible for an OSE that focuses on an open-source product or class of products. According to NSF, “this solicitation seeks two types of proposals, allowing teams to (1) propose specific activities to scope the development of an OSE (Phase I), and (2) develop a sustainable OSE based on a mature open-source product that shows promise both in the ability to meet an emergent societal or national need and to build a community to help develop it (Phase II).” The submission deadline for Phase I proposals is May 12, 2022, and the deadline for Phase II proposals is October 21, 2022. Interested in learning more about this opportunity? Visit NSF’s website.

OSTP RFI: Federal Scientific Integrity Framework

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a notice of a request for information (RFI) on scientific integrity policies and practices to “Support the Development of a Federal Scientific Integrity Policy Framework.” The RFI seeks information on a framework that “... will include assessment criteria that OSTP and agencies can use to inform, review, and improve the content and implementation of agency scientific-integrity policies. To support this framework, OSTP seeks information on: (1) How scientific integrity policies can address important and emergent issues of our time, including diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; new technologies; emerging modes of science; and coordination with related policy domains; (2) The criteria to evaluate scientific integrity policy content, implementation, outcomes and impacts in the Executive Branch; (3) How to ensure that scientific integrity evaluation findings lead to effective iterative improvement of Federal scientific integrity policy and practices; and (4) How to ensure the long-term viability and implementation of Federal scientific integrity policies, practices, and culture through future Administrations.” Interested in learning more about the administration’s commitment to scientific integrity? Read the Scientific Integrity Task Force’s report, “Protecting the Integrity of Government Science.” Read the full OSTP RFI for more information. Interested parties should submit comments by April 4, 2022.

Federal Reports

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

(1) Supporting Mental Wellness for Program Staff and Participants: Strategies for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) LeadersThis report shares how TANF program leaders might apply the lessons and incorporate the practices used during the pandemic to address persistent stress and trauma and to support staff and participant well-being beyond the end of the public health emergency.

(2) Supporting Families Through Coordinated Services Partnerships. The Assessing Models of Coordinated Services (AMCS) project aimed to improve the understanding of approaches to coordinating services at the state or local level. This brief shares findings from interviews with leaders from 18 state and local coordinated services approaches with a particular focus on how coordinated services approaches rely on partnerships to support families.

(3) Making Evaluations Rigorous and Relevant: The Role of Active Engagement in Developing Learning Agendas for the Division of Family Strengthening. Feedback and input from groups and individuals who are invested in the outcomes of human services programs are critical to helping OPRE’s Division of Family Strengthening (DFS) and program offices decide what learning agenda priorities should be. This report describes DFS’ expectations for developing plans and implementing strategies to maximize opportunities for active engagement in DFS projects.

(4) Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Head Start's Family Support ServicesThis report describes how six Head Start sites participating in the Head Start Connects case studies adapted their coordination of family support services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Head Start Connects case studies also aimed to fill the knowledge gap about the processes or practices used to ensure that service coordination is aligned with individual family needs and fosters family well-being.

(5) Implementation and Cost of High Quality (ICHQ) Brief Series: Understanding Implementation and Costs to Support Quality in Early Care and Education (ECE). The goals of ICHQ are to (1) produce technically sound, systematic measures of the implementation and costs of education and care in center-based settings that serve children from birth to age 5 (not yet in kindergarten); (2) produce implementation and cost measures to examine the variation in ECE center capacities and resources that can make a difference in quality and the experiences of children; and (3) develop a feasible and useful instrument to guide the collection, development, and reporting of the measures. This series of briefs highlights and adds to findings presented in an associated methods paper that are based on a multi-case study of 30 ECE centers.

(6) Native Culture & Language in the Classroom Observation (NCLCO) 2019This report shares the NCLCO, which is a measure that records the types of cultural materials that surround children in Region XI Head Start classrooms. It includes the NCLCO that was used in the AIAN FACES 2015 data collection and the updated NCLCO that was revised for AIAN FACES 2019.

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

(1) Program Integrity and Effectiveness through Data and Analysis (PIEDA) for the Family First Prevention Services ActThis report describes PIEDA, which aims to enhance the capacity to share and link data between state child welfare and Medicaid agencies on issues at the nexus of the two systems. PIEDA intends to sustainably improve the data infrastructure of states to increase their ability to analyze challenges experienced by families involved in child welfare systems.

(2) Scoping Review Report: Data Elements for Research on the Role of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in Coronavirus Disease 2019 Infection and Outcomes in the U.SThis report describes a scoping review that was conducted to identify SDOH that are risk factors for, or associated with outcomes of, COVID-19, and understand the definitions, characteristics, and measures of SDOH data elements as they were used in studies analyzing statistical associations with the risk for COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related outcomes in the U.S.

(3) Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care Among Black Americans: Recent Trends and Key ChallengesThis report analyzes changes in health insurance coverage and examines trends in access to care among Black Americans using data from 2011-2020. It is part of a series examining the change in coverage rates and access to care after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) among different racial and ethnic populations.

(4) Peer Support as a Social Capital Strategy for Programs Serving Individuals Reentering from Incarceration and Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence or Human Sex Trafficking. Many human services programs recognize the power of “social capital,” or the value that arises from relationships. This report offers insight into how programs use peer supports to help build social capital with participants who are reentering the community after incarceration or are survivors of intimate partner violence or sex trafficking. 

(5) Demographic Characteristics of Adults Receiving COVID-19 Booster VaccinationsThis report examines demographic characteristics of adults receiving booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey. These results may help to target outreach efforts and policy decisions to increase booster uptake and ensure that more of the population is protected from severe disease, hospitalization, or death due to COVID-19.

New Reports and Briefs from the Institute of Education Sciences

(1) Teachers of Hispanic or Latino Origin: Background and School Settings in 2017-18This report examines the background and school settings of teachers of Hispanic or Latino origin in public and private schools in the United States in school year 2017–18, by selected school and teacher characteristics.

(2) Enhancing the Generalizability of Impact Studies in EducationThis report will help researchers design and implement impact studies in education so that the findings are more generalizable to the study’s target population.

(3) Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic on Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Education in the United States (Preliminary Data): Results from the 2020-21 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)This report presents selected findings, using preliminary data, from coronavirus-related questions on the 2020-21 NTPS that were focused on how schools adapted to the coronavirus pandemic during the spring of 2019–20.

(4) 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcript Study (HSTS). The 2019 NAEP HSTS describes the course taking patterns and academic performance of graduates from a national sample of U.S. public and private schools who also took the 2019 NAEP twelfth-grade mathematics and science assessments. This report uses data from the 1990, 2000, 2009, and 2019 NAEP HSTS for coursetaking results and from 2005, 2009, and 2019 for comparisons to NAEP.

(5) International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS): U.S. ICILS 2018 Technical Report and User’s GuideThis report provides an overview of the design and implementation of ICILS 2018, which is a computer-based international assessment of eighth-grade students’ capacities to use information communications technologies (ICT) productively for different purposes.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The March 2022 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 Conduct Secondary Analyses of Head Start and Early Head Start Data: An Administration for Children and Families (ACF) funding opportunity to support researchers conducting secondary analyses of data to address key questions of relevance to Head Start programs and policies. Applications are due by May 2, 2022. 

(2) Grant to Support Child Abuse and Neglect Research and Dissemination: A Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) funding opportunity to support multidisciplinary centers that will serve as the CAPSTONE for research on child abuse and neglect, be a national resource for the field, and foster dissemination and outreach efforts that bridge research, clinical practice and policy. Applications are due by July 27, 2022. 

(3) Grant to Support School Safety Research and Evaluation: A National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding opportunity to conduct rigorous research and evaluation projects that: 1) study the root causes and consequences of school violence and 2) examine the impact and effectiveness of awards made for purposes authorized under the STOP School Violence Act. Applications are due by April 25, 2022.

(4) Grant to Establish a Technical Assistance Center for Early Childhood Programs that Serve Children with Disabilities: An Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) funding opportunity to establish and operate an Early Childhood Systems Technical Assistance Center that will support State and local capacity to improve and sustain equitable systems that support access by, and full participation of, young children with disabilities across early childhood programs. Applications are due by May 6, 2022.

Read about these and other funding opportunities.