Policy Update: November 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

SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs: Call for Applications

We are seeking applicants for the SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs for the 2021-2022 academic year. There are two fellowship programs: federal and state. The fellowships provide researchers with immersive opportunities to (1) learn firsthand about policy development, implementation, and evaluation, and (2) learn how to use developmental science to inform child and family public policies and programs that support diverse populations. Through these experiences, fellows also learn how to communicate with policymakers and formulate more informed questions for policy-relevant research. All fellowships will run from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. Read below for more details. Deadline to Submit Applications and Letters of Intent: January 4, 2021, 11:59 PM Eastern.

Federal Policy Fellowship Program
There are two types of federal fellowships: congressional and executive branch. Both fellowships are full-time immersion experiences in Washington, D.C., where fellows work as resident scholars within congressional or federal executive branch agency offices. We welcome applications from early, mid-career, and advanced professionals. 

State Policy Fellowship Program
There are two types of state fellowships: pre-doctoral and post-doctoral. Both fellowships are immersion experiences, where fellows work as resident scholars in state executive branch agency offices. Fellows will receive support from a state supervisor and an academic mentor during the fellowship experience. More information about the program, including application requirements and procedures for submission of letters of intent, is available on the SRCD website. 

Questions? Email policyfellowships@srcd.org


SRCD Child and Family Policy Resources

ACF’s National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2020: Agenda Available

The Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) National Research Conference on Early Childhood 2020 (NRCEC 2020) will be held virtually, Monday, November 30 to Thursday, December 3, 2020. The conference will include numerous symposia covering the latest in early childhood research and interactive poster sessions.

The goals of NRCEC 2020 are to:

  1. Identify and disseminate research relevant to young children birth to 8, their families, and the programs that serve them.
  2. Encourage collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.
  3. Build upon the evidence base for policy and practice.

View the agenda for NRCEC 2020. There is no registration fee for this event.


Legislative Branch Updates

FY 2021 Appropriations Update

Senate Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2021 Bills

On November 10, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released all 12 annual Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. The U.S. House of Representatives passed 10 of their 12 annual appropriations bills last summer. A continuing resolution (CR) currently funds the government, and the CR will expire on December 11. Both chambers are expected to continue negotiations on FY 2021 appropriations and aim to fund the government before the December 11 deadline. Congress must pass another spending package and present it to the President for his consideration before December 11 to avert a government shutdown.

Read about the Senate Committee on Appropriations' subcommittee allocations, and summaries of each of the FY 2021 appropriations bills for more information.


Executive Branch Updates


NIH Issues Final Policy for Data Management and Sharing

On October 29, the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health issued “Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing.” The Policy addresses the management and sharing of scientific data based on NIH-funded or conducted research.
More specifically, “this Policy establishes the requirements of submission of Data Management and Sharing Plans…and compliance with NIH Institute, Center, or Office (ICO)-approved Plans. It also emphasizes the importance of good data management practices and establishes the expectation for maximizing the appropriate sharing of scientific data generated from NIH-funded or conducted research, with justified limitations or exceptions. This Policy applies to research funded or conducted by NIH that results in the generation of scientific data.”

Read the announcement to learn more about the final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing.

Request for Information: Inviting Comments and Suggestions on the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research

Last month, the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health issued a Request for Information (RFI), soliciting comments and suggestions on the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 research.

The RFI notes, “Urgent public health measures are needed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes, coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. Scientific research to improve basic understanding of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, and to develop the necessary tools and approaches to better prevent, diagnose, and treat this disease is of paramount importance. The NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research, released on July 13, 2020, provides a framework for achieving this goal. It describes how NIH is rapidly mobilizing diverse stakeholders, including the biomedical research community, industry, and philanthropic organizations, through new programs and existing resources, to lead a swift, coordinated research response to this global pandemic.”

Read the request for information for more information about this request and consider submitting comments. Interested parties must submit comments by December 7, 2020.

Interim Final Rule Request for Comment: Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program

Last month, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security published, “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program” an interim final rule (IFR) with a request for comments. The interim final rule will be effective on December 7, 2020.

The IFR states, “Congressional intent behind creating the H-1B program was, in part, to help U.S. employers fill labor shortages in positions requiring highly skilled or educated workers using temporary workers. A key goal of the program at its inception was to help U.S. employers obtain the temporary employees they need to meet their business needs. To address legitimate countervailing concerns of the adverse impact foreign workers could have on U.S. workers, Congress put in place a number of measures intended to protect U.S. workers to ensure that H-1B workers would not adversely affect them. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 212(n) and (p); 8 U.S.C. 1182(n) and (p). However, over time, legitimate concerns have emerged that indicate that the H-1B program is not functioning as originally envisioned and that U.S. workers are being adversely affected… By reforming key aspects of the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program, this rule will improve program integrity and better ensure that only petitioners who meet the statutory criteria for the H-1B classification are able to employ H-1B workers who are qualified for the classification. This, in turn, will protect jobs of U.S. workers as a part of responding to the national emergency, and facilitate the Nation's economic recovery.”

Read the interim final rule for more information. Comments on the interim final rule must be submitted on or before December 7, 2020.

Request for Information: National Science Foundation Seeks Input on Evidence-Building Activities

Last month, the National Science Foundation released a request for information seeking input on opportunities to build on “ongoing efforts to identify priority questions that can guide evidence-building activities by soliciting input from the public.”

Read this request for information and consider submitting a comment. Interested parties should submit comments to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, splimpto@nsf.gov by December 31, 2020.

Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations

The National Science Foundation issued a solicitation, “Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet),” providing updated guidance on a 2019 AccelNet solicitation (NSF 19-501), which sought “...international networks of networks addressing scientific grand challenges that require significant international research coordination, either aligned with one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas or community-identified grand challenges.”  
Read the notice for more information about the Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program. Interested parties should submit their FY 2021 Competition proposals by January 4, 2021.


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) Pathways-to-Outcomes Snapshots: Tools for Building Evidence for Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) ProgramsThis resource includes brief overviews of three HMRE Pathways-to-Outcomes models that visually represent hypothesized links between program activities and intended outcomes.  

(2) Pathways-to-Outcomes Snapshots: Tools for Building Evidence for Responsible Fatherhood (RF) ProgramsThis resource includes brief overviews of four RF Pathways-to-Outcomes models that visually represent hypothesized links between program activities and intended outcomes.

(3) American Indian & Alaska Native Head Start (Region XI) Family and Child Experiences Survey 2015: Education & Professional Development of Lead Teachers Poster and Key Indicator SlidesThis resource summarizes survey findings about the characteristics of Region XI teachers and the professional development supports available to them. 

(4) Child Well-Being Spotlight: Children Living in Kinship Care and Nonrelative Foster Care Are Unlikely to Receive Needed Early Intervention or Special Education ServicesThis report examines the degree to which early intervention and special education services are being received by children who may have developmental delays and/or compromised cognitive or academic functioning, and the difference in unmet needs between children in voluntary kinship care, formal kinship care, and nonrelative foster care.

(5) Conceptualizing and Measuring Access to Early Care and EducationThis report aims to crosswalk recent definitions of access in the literature with the multi-dimensional definition as presented in the Access Guidebook, and to provide a launching point for future discussion around ongoing and planned efforts to document and improve access.

(6) Examining the Link: Foster Care Runaway Episodes and Human TraffickingThis report describes current understanding of running away from foster care and its relationship to the risk of sex trafficking. This includes a discussion of the number of youths who run from foster care, factors that place youth at risk of running from care, and the evidence around running from care and sex trafficking victimization.

(7)  Understanding Facilitators and Barriers to Professional Development Use Among the Early Care and Education WorkforceThis report discusses new analyses of the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) that explore how often, and under what conditions, center-based and home-based ECE teachers and caregivers participate in PD activities. It also discusses implications for federal and state agencies overseeing PD systems for ECE teachers and caregivers.

(8) How Low-income Fathers in Responsible Fatherhood (RF) Programs Perceive and Provide Financial Support for their ChildrenThis report complements earlier findings from the Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation of RF programs by combining findings from qualitative and quantitative analyses, documenting the patterns of support for fathers in the study, examining fathers with a child support order and other subgroups relevant to child support policy, and highlighting findings from a broader range of outcomes related to financial support.

(9) The Effectiveness of Different Approaches for Moving Cash Assistance Recipients to Work: Findings from the Job Search Assistance Strategies EvaluationThis report summarizes the findings from an evaluation of the relative effectiveness of different approaches to assisting individuals applying for or receiving cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in finding and keeping jobs. It also discusses the implications of these findings for policymakers, program administrators, and researchers.

(10) Self-Regulation Training Approaches and Resources to Improve Staff Capacity for Implementing Healthy Marriage Programs for Youth (SARHM): Final ReportThis report shares strategies and resources for practitioners and researchers interested in enhancing adult-youth co-regulation in real-world settings to promote youth self-regulation and boost program implementation and effects.

(11) Planning for a Pay-for-Outcomes (PFO) Approach in Home Visiting. This planning resource includes four modules summarizing research findings on home visiting outcomes and their associated costs to support PFO planning. MIECHV awardees, evaluators, and PFO contractors can use this resource to inform PFO feasibility studies and PFO project development, including outcome selection, projected savings, and outcome payment pricing. 

(12) Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) ReviewThis report presents the latest updates (September 2020) to the HomVEE review of home visiting program models that serve families with pregnant women and children from birth to age five.

(13) What the Evidence Says: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Home Visiting. In this report, the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness (HomVEE) project summarized the IPV findings from research on home visiting models HomVEE that have been classified as “evidence-based” according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) criteria.

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) Factsheet: Estimates of Child Care Eligibility and Receipt for Fiscal Year 2017. This report provides descriptive information on child care eligibility and receipt, including disparities by the income level, race, and age of children. 

(2) Disparities in Rates of COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization, and Death by Race and Ethnicity. This report analyzes data from state and county health departments on the racial and ethnic demographics of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing health disparities through the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority communities.

(3) Understanding Substance Use Coercion as a Barrier to Economic Stability for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence: Policy ImplicationsThis report highlights research on substance use coercion - when perpetrators of intimate partner violence undermine and control their partners through substance-use related tactics and actively keep them from meeting treatment and recovery goals - including potential policy and practice responses for the domestic violence and substance use treatment fields and for federal agencies.

(4) Understanding Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment Needs Using Assessment Data: Final Report. This report explores the feasibility of gathering and utilizing patient placement and other needs assessment data to identify and address unmet patient needs by levels of care.

(5) Predictions of Poverty and Program Eligibility During the COVID-19 PandemicThis report provides projections of poverty rates and eligibility for Medicaid, TANF, and SNAP for the August to December 2020 period.

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) Public High School Students' Career and Technical Education Coursetaking: 1992 to 2013. This report examines public high school graduates’ career and technical education (CTE) coursetaking as of 2013, and trends in students’ CTE coursetaking from 1992 to 2013. 

(2) Supply and Demand for Middle‑Skill Occupations in Rural California in 2018–20. This report examines the extent to which the workforce supply in four rural California regions aligned with the occupational demand in "middle-skill" jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor's degree from 2017-2020. 

(3) 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Mathematics and Reading Assessments: Highlighted Results at Grade 12 for the NationThis report provides overviews of grade 12 results from the NAEP 2019 mathematics report and the 2019 reading report.

(4) Continuous Improvement in Education: A Toolkit for Schools and DistrictsThis toolkit is designed to provide accessible guidance and tools to help school principals, district staff, teachers, and other practitioners to apply principles and practices of continuous improvement processes in their schools or school districts. 

(5) Are Neighborhood Factors Associated with the Quality of Early Childhood Education in North Carolina? This report examines whether and how geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic characteristics of the neighborhood (that is, census tract) in which an early childhood education (ECE) site is located within North Carolina is associated with aspects of the quality of these sites, as characterized by their 2017 Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) measures.

(6) Forum Guide to Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your DataThis report provides timely and useful best practice information to help education agencies proactively prepare for, appropriately mitigate, and responsibly recover from a cybersecurity incident. 

(7) Algebra I and College Preparatory Diploma Outcomes among Virginia Students Who Completed Algebra I in Grades 7–9This report discusses findings from a study about Algebra I and graduation outcomes among students with similar mathematics proficiency in grade 5 who completed Algebra I in grade 7, 8, or 9 in Virginia.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The November 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) A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding opportunity will support the understanding of the needs of emergency-affected and displaced populations by improving epidemiological methods, estimating morbidity and mortality of these populations during COVID-19, as well as understanding the specific health sector needs of persons affected by humanitarian/public health emergencies and best practices for improving health outcomes. Applications are due by February 18, 2021.  

(2) A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding opportunity will support the generation of new scientific knowledge and the development of methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities. Applications are due by December 21, 2020.

(3) A National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funding opportunity will support research that elucidates neurobehavioral mechanisms underlying multimorbidities involving substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring psychiatric disorders in people living with HIV (PLWHIV). Applications are due by January 6, 2021.

(4) A National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding opportunity will support the evaluation of the effectiveness of service-ready tools and technologies that can be used to advance training, quality monitoring, and quality improvement efforts and ultimately improve the availability of evidence-based suicide prevention services. Applications are due by February 18, 2021. 

Read about these and other funding opportunities.