Policy Update: November 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 Child Evidence Brief on Evidence-Based Curricula and Job-Embedded Coaching for Teachers 

SRCD recently released a Child Evidence Brief  titled, “Evidence-Based Curricula and Job-Embedded Coaching for Teachers Promote Preschoolers’ Learning.” The brief summarizes leading evidence on job-embedded, curriculum-based coaching and evidence-based curricula for preschool teachers and highlights the importance of effective learning tools to address inequities and promote learning. Interested in learning more about the Child Evidence Brief  series? Visit SRCD’s website to learn more.

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 educating, communicating, and advocating 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 8 Issue 2, which was released in October 2021, is the first of two issues authored by SRCD members; the next issue will be released in March of 2022. Read the new PIBBS issue to explore the literature.

Call for Applications: 2022-2023 SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs

We are seeking applicants for the SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs for the 2022-2023 year. There are two fellowship programs: federal and state. The fellowship programs aim to (1) provide fellows with firsthand experience in policymaking, program implementation, and evaluation; (2) provide agencies greater access to research expertise on a diverse range of child development topics to enhance evidence-based policy development, implementation, and evaluation that support diverse populations; and (3) build a network of experts that bridge developmental science, policymaking, and practice. 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, 2022 to August 31, 2023.  

What is the 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. More information about the program, application requirements, and the submission process is available on the SRCD website

What is the State Policy Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program? This fellowship is a full-immersion experience, 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, application requirements, and the submission process for letters of intent is available on the SRCD website


Legislative Branch Updates

FY 2022 Appropriations Update

Congressional Lawmakers Consider FY 2022 Stopgap Funding

Congressional lawmakers have not yet advanced the twelve Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations bills required to complete the FY 2022 appropriations process. H.R. 5305, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, (a continuing resolution (CR) that currently provides funding to federal agencies) will expire on December 3, 2021. Congress must pass another stopgap funding measure that will postpone the completion of the FY 2022 appropriations process or complete the appropriations process before December 3 to avoid a government shutdown. According to CQ, lawmakers are considering a two-to-three-month CR that would delay efforts to complete the appropriations process until February or March 2022. However, some lawmakers are emphasizing the need for a short stopgap measure that would only last until December 17, 2021. At the time of writing, neither the U.S. Senate nor the House of Representatives have advanced a stop-gap funding measure. Interested in learning more about the congressional appropriations process? Read the U.S. Senate’s summary of appropriations.

President Biden Signs Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Into Law

On November 15, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, into law. H.R. 3684 passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a 228-206 vote on November 5, which followed the U.S. Senate’s passage of the bill last August with a 69-30 vote. Of note, the long-awaited infrastructure bill provides funding for federal-aid highway, transit and safety programs, reauthorizes surface transportation programs, invests in environmental remediation, expands access to clean drinking water and high-speed internet, in addition to other important investments. To learn more about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, read the White House's summary of the bill.

House Passes The Build Back Better Act 

On November 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, a roughly $2 trillion sweeping social spending package that would advance President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. The bill passed the House of Representatives along party lines with a 220-213 vote. If signed into law, H.R. 5376, which doubles as the Fiscal Year 2022 budget reconciliation measure, would extend the Child Tax Credit program, expand access to child care, provide universal pre-kindergarten for every 3-and-4-year-old in the United States, make higher education more affordable, and invest in clean energy, along with many other critical investments. The Build Back Better Act will now be considered by the U.S. Senate. For a period of time, the fate of H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on November 15, was inexplicably tied to the FY 2022 reconciliation measure. Intra- and inter-party disagreements regarding whether lawmakers should consider the infrastructure bill in tandem with the reconciliation measure, compounded by the ongoing debt ceiling crisis, contributed to delays. For more information about the Build Back Better Act and the budget reconciliation process, visit the House Committee on the Budget’s website.


Additional Hearings of Interest

  • The Implementation of COVID-19 Education Funds. On November 17, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held a joint hearing on “Examining the Implementation of COVID-19 Education Funds.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.
  • Eliminating Barriers to Full Economic Inclusion for the LGBTQ+ Community. On November 9, the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on “There's No Pride in Prejudice: Eliminating Barriers to Full Economic Inclusion for the LGBTQ+ Community.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.
  • Modernizing the Community Services Block Grant. On November 3, the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on “A Call to Action: Modernizing the Community Services Block Grant.” View the witness list, recording, and read witness testimonies.

Executive Branch Updates


President Biden Issues Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans

On November 15, President Joe Biden issued an “Executive Order on Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People.” The order recognizes the Biden Administration’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all Native Americans and recognizes the high levels of violence and victimization of Native Americans in the United States, stating “generations of Native Americans have experienced violence or mourned a missing or murdered family member or loved one, and the lasting impacts of such tragedies are felt throughout the country.” The order reflects on the 116th Congress’ passage of two crucial pieces of legislation that aim to address issues related to law enforcement and criminal justice for this community, the Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act of 2019, and notes the Administration’s commitment to fully implementing the laws. The order also recognizes more work is needed to protect Native Americans and emphasizes the need to work with Tribal Nations; “It is the policy of my Administration to work directly with Tribal Nations to strengthen public safety and criminal justice in Indian Country and beyond, to reduce violence against Native American people, and to ensure swift and effective Federal action that responds to the problem of missing or murdered Indigenous people.” To learn more about federal efforts to address the crisis, read the Executive Order.

NIH Releases 2021 Research Plan on Rehabilitation

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released the 2021 NIH Research Plan on Rehabilitation. The NIH plan details NIH activities, advancements, and goals as they relate to disease, injury, and disability and guides NIH research activities across the agency. The plan builds on the six key themes included in the 2016 plan, including: (A) rehabilitation across the lifespan; (B) community and family; (C) technology use and development; (D) research design and methodology; (E) translational science; and (F) building research capacity and infrastructure. According to NIH, “the plan will help guide rehabilitation research across the NIH for the next five years to improve health and function of people with a range of ability levels.” The plan, which was led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR), will guide NIH’s rehabilitation research initiatives for the next five years. To learn more about the plan, read the NICHD news release.

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) Confidentiality ToolkitThis toolkit discusses how to share records collected by human services and related programs that promote the well-being of children and families. 

(2) Employer Engagement: Lessons for Employment Programs from the COVID-19 PandemicThis report describes the experiences of six employment programs participating in the Next Generation of Enhanced Employment Strategies (NextGen) Project and offers lessons for other employment programs about promising strategies for working with employers that might be useful even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

(3) How Satisfied Are Home Visitors With Their Caseloads? A National Look at Home Visitors’ Perspectives on Caseload FitThis report draws on data about home visiting caseloads from a national survey of home visitors and explores how home visitors feel about their caseloads and associations between perceived caseload burden and home visitors’ report of job stress, work-life conflict, and turnover intentions.

(4) Understanding Cross-Systems Transitions from Head Start to Kindergarten: A Review of the Knowledge Base and a Theory of ChangeThis report identifies, from the literature and key informant interviews, key contributors to more successful kindergarten transitions from Head Start by understanding the broader systems-level supports needed.  

(5) Developing a Learning Agenda to Address the Needs of Young Parents in CareThis report presents both a learning agenda and conceptual framework focused on the needs of young parents in care (parenting young people in foster care). 

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) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Overdose Prevention Strategy. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) convened an interagency workgroup of key HHS experts in overdose prevention and substance use disorders to develop a new strategy to address the evolving nature of the broadened overdose crisis. This report discusses the strategy, including the objectives under each priority area, associated activities, and guiding principles.

(2) The Impacts and Implications of COVID-19 on Household ArrangementsThis report identifies emerging literature on the impacts and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on household arrangements as well as considerations for how to best serve multiple individuals and families under one roof during the pandemic and in the future.

(3) Improving Outcomes for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) People Returning to the Community from Incarceration: A Resource Guide for Service ProvidersThis report for providers working with AI/AN people reentering their communities from incarceration contains a compilation of federal resources, research, examples, and helpful considerations for facilitating a successful reentry.

(4) Engaging Training and Technical Assistance (TA) Recipients: Lessons from the FieldThis report outlines six elements necessary for creating engaging training and TA, summarizes how designers and providers might measure recipients’ engagement, and presents concrete strategies for providers to make training and TA engaging.

(5) Developing Equitable Training and Technical Assistance (TA)This report summarizes four questions and related strategies for training and TA designers to consider to improve the likelihood that training and TA will engage potential recipients and their communities equitably.

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) Exploring Early Implementation of Pennsylvania's Innovative Teacher and Principal Residency Grants. To improve educator diversity and address educator shortages, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) awards grants to universities in the state to develop and implement teacher and principal residency preparation programs. This report examines eight residency programs that received grants for the 2019/20 school year. 

(2) Academic Mindsets and Behaviors, Prior Achievement, and the Transition to Middle SchoolThis report examines the relationship between 2016/17 grade 5 student responses to a Clark County School District (Nevada) survey on levels of academic mindsets and behaviors and the predicted probability of earning a low GPA.

(3) Schools' Experiences with Georgia's District and School Flexibility Policy. Georgia instituted a flexibility policy in 2007 that provided districts with waivers from state education rules, provisions, and guidelines. In exchange, schools must meet academic performance targets. This report analyzes how each school’s achievement changed after the start of their district’s performance contracts and the factors related to those changes.

(4) 2020 Long-Term Trend Reading and Mathematics Assessment Results at Age 9 and Age 13This report presents the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend assessments in reading and mathematics administered during the 2019–20 school year to 9- and 13-year-old students.

(5) Program Evaluation Toolkit. This report provides resources and tools to support users in contributing to evaluations of their own programs. The primary audience includes individuals responsible for evaluating and monitoring local, state, or federal programs.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The November 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) Cooperative Agreement to Promote Health Equity in K-12 Education: A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding opportunity to improve the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and school staff in underserved and disproportionately affected communities. Applications are due by January 10, 2022.  

(2) Grant to Study Preterm Infants’ Nutritional Needs: A Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) funding opportunity to address priority gaps in understanding the role of nutrition in the care and development of preterm infants. Applications are due by March 30, 2022. 

(3) Grant to Promote Reproductive Health Among People with Disabilities: A National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding opportunity to address gaps in our understanding of best practices for promoting reproductive health across the transition from adolescence to adulthood for persons with disabilities. Applications are due by March 30, 2022.  

(4) Grant to Study the Effectiveness of Suicide Risk Reduction Interventions: A National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funding opportunity to evaluate the preliminary effectiveness of therapeutic and service delivery interventions that utilize interpersonal treatment strategies to reduce risk among suicidal individuals following acute care. Applications are due by February 18, 2022.

Read about these and other funding opportunities.