Policy Update: October 2019

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 News Related to Child and Family Policy

Application Sites Now Open: SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs

We are seeking applicants for the SRCD U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs for the 2020-2021 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) use their expertise 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, 2020 to August 31, 2021. Read below for more details.

Deadline to Submit Applications and Letters of Intent: January 3, 2020, 11:59pm 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. The application portal is now open on the SRCD website.
  • State Policy Fellowship Program
    There are two types of state fellowships: pre-doctoral and post-doctoral. Both fellowships are full-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. The application portal to submit letters of intent is now open on the SRCD website.

Questions? Email policyfellowships@srcd.org

New Child Evidence Brief on Questioning Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

SRCD has recently released a new Child Evidence Brief: “Questioning Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: Lessons from Developmental Science on Forensic Interviewing.” This Child Evidence Brief was a product of SRCD’s Rapid Response Process, a protocol through which SRCD produces evidence-informed responses to social and public policy issues identified by its members. A request was made for SRCD to generate developmental science guidance on interviewing unaccompanied children at the U.S. southwestern border. The brief summarizes the evidence on why unaccompanied immigrant children are more likely to provide inaccurate and incomplete descriptions of their experiences. It also identifies interviewing techniques that can be used to increase children’s responsiveness and suggests specific training protocols for authorities who conduct these interviews.

SRCD Signs Amicus Brief: Traumatic Impact of DACA Rescission on Recipients’ Children

On October 4, SRCD joined three dozen organizations and leaders in filing an Amicus Brief (appendix here) to inform the United States Department of Homeland Security, et al. v. Regents of the University of California, et al. case. The Amicus Brief asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the impact of rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on beneficiaries’ children, who are U.S. citizens. The brief was co-authored by Persyn Law & Policy and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and other children’s advocacy organizations, medical professionals, and child development experts. Oral arguments are scheduled for November 12, 2019. Read the press release issued by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

New Social Policy Report on Promoting Economic Stability

SRCD has recently released a new Social Policy Report, “Strengthening Social Programs to Promote Economic Stability During Childhood,” by Drs. Bradley Hardy, Heather Hill, and Jennie Romich. In the report, the authors describe economic instability, review the pertinent theories for considering how economic instability might matter to children, and describe ideas for policies that could reduce or moderate instability. Read the latest Social Policy Report.

Register Now: Webinar on Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care

November 12, 2019, 2:00-3:00pm Eastern

The University-based Child and Family Policy Consortium and SRCD will be hosting a webinar, “Partnering to Serve Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care:  Lessons from an Illinois Pilot.” Although youth in foster care have much higher pregnancy and birth rates than their peers, and their children are at high risk for maltreatment, pregnant and parenting foster youth have generally not been served by home visiting programs. This webinar will describe the development and implementation of a home visiting pilot for pregnant and parenting youth in foster care and will present both qualitative and quantitative findings from an evaluation of the pilot’s implementation.  The webinar will conclude with discussion of the implications of the evaluation for child welfare systems preparing to provide preventive services under the Family First Prevention Services Act and how other communities can promote collaboration between home visiting and child welfare systems.


  • Amy Dworsky, Ph.D., M.S.W., Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
  • Jaime Russell, M.S.W., Program Manager-Family Support Services, Children’s Home and Aid

Register Now!

Submission Sites Open: SRCD Special Topic Workshops Meeting

June 12-13, 2020 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Submission Deadline: November 13, 2019, 8:00pm Eastern

SRCD is pleased to invite submissions and applications for the Special Topic Workshops Meeting, a new format for 2020 featuring four individual, concurrent workshops accommodating about 50 registrants each. Participants in the four unique workshops will take a deep dive into topics that address diversity, disparity, and disadvantage through international, interdisciplinary, research- and policy-oriented perspectives. Space is limited. Each attendee may register for only one workshop.
The 2020 Special Topic Workshops Meeting will cover the following topics:

Read further about each workshop and submit a poster, presentation, or application


Legislative Branch Updates


FY20 Appropriations: Spending Bills Remain in Debate as Deadline Nears

Since the continuing resolution (CR) passage in September, which extended fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding levels for government agencies until November 21, further action on appropriations in Congress has been limited. The Senate passed a four-bill spending package on Thursday, October 31 with a bipartisan 84-9 vote, a package that included spending bills for Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Transportation-HUD, and Commerce-Justice-Science. While passage of these four bills was a step forward, the Senate still needs to pass eight additional spending bills, including the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education funding bills. The House passed 10 of its 12 appropriations bills in June, and now must work with their Senate colleagues to resolve discrepancies in funding allocations. With the November 21 deadline fast approaching, CQ reports that Congress may consider a second CR to further extend current funding levels to next spring. To learn more, read COSSA’s detailed analyses of current funding bills under consideration.

Congressional Briefing on Addressing Equity in Teaching Through Professional Learning

On October 10, Learning Forward hosted a briefing, “Addressing Equity in Teaching Through Professional Learning.” Dr. Denise Glyn Borders, Executive Director of Learning Forward, gave opening remarks stating, “When educators don’t have access to continued learning, we’re shutting the door for students.” She noted the need to provide teachers with ongoing, collaborative professional learning opportunities (e.g., coaching and mentoring) and the importance of Title II, Part A funds of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) so that school districts are able to provide intensive professional learning opportunities, such as training on culturally relevant approaches and high quality instructional materials.
A panel of practitioners followed the presentation and discussed a number of topics, including: the necessity of Title II, Part A funds as the only funding available for schools to use towards professional learning; the importance of professional learning programs, such as teacher mentorship and induction programs, to lower teacher attrition rates; the critical need for more principal development programs to better prepare and retain principals; and the challenge of stagnant Title II, Part A funds, which has increasingly required school districts to fill the gap in funding themselves if they want to maintain the same levels of professional learning supports for their educators. The panelists included: Beth Albert, Executive Director, Professional Development and Student Achievement, Norman Public Schools, Oklahoma; Scott Feder, Superintendent, South Brunswick School District, New Jersey; Paul Katnik, Assistant Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Barbara Patterson Oden, Professional Development Supervisor, Suffolk Public Schools, Virginia; and Leigh Wall (moderator), Superintendent of Schools, Santa Fe Independent School District, Texas and President, Learning Forward. Read further information and view the full recording.

Congressional Briefing on Principal Pipelines

On October 17, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESO), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the American Federation of School Administrators held a briefing, “Principal Pipelines, Not Just a Pipe Dream.” The briefing began with introductory remarks by Dr. Matthew Clifford, principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research, where he highlighted the research on the importance of effective principals for student, teacher, and school outcomes as well as evidence of the negative effect on school performance when a principal leaves a school. He described recent principal pipeline programs aimed to improve recruitment and retention of principals and noted the significant improvements for schools when principal pipeline programs were in place. Dr. Clifford also mentioned the changing roles of school principals and Central Offices of school districts to be focused more on coaching and mentorship rather than on managing and compliance.
A panel of school and district-level leaders then discussed a variety of topics including the need for: partnerships between school districts and local university-based principal preparatory programs to ensure new principals are ready and able to meet the needs of the school district; more principal support programs, such as principal residency programs and induction programs; continued opportunities for principals to professionally grow and learn with a community of other principals; better communication by school and district leadership on the different pathways available for teachers interested in becoming a principal; and further training for principals on how to coach and develop teachers. Panelists included: Robert Motley, Principal, Atholton High School, Columbia, MD; Damaries Bondoville, Senior Project Manager, Office of Talent Development, Prince George’s County Public Schools; and Dr. Ryan Daniel, Principal, Chillum Elementary, Hyattsville, MD.

Additional Hearings of Interest

House Subcommittee Hearing on Deporting Critically Ill Kids and Their Families

On October 30, the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing, “The Administration's Decision to Deport Critically Ill Children and Their Families.” Witnesses included: Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director, Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Matthew T. Albence, Acting Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Read further information and view the full recording.


Executive Branch Updates


Proposed Revision of Eligibility Requirements for SNAP

The Trump Administration reopened a comment period on a proposal to change eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also referred to as food stamps. The proposed rule would narrow the number of eligible households for SNAP and could lead to an estimated 982,000 children losing automatic access to free school meals, according to an analysis released by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the U.S., about 36 million people currently receive SNAP (USDA SNAP Data Table, July 2019). Read the full proposed rule.

Additional Updates of Interest

White House Announces Revival of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

An executive order was issued by the White House on October 22 to restore the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Seven of 16 members have been appointed to the Council, with diverse backgrounds in science training, business, and government. Read an article by Science Magazine for further information.

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) Enhancing a Home Visiting Program to Address Repeat Adolescent Pregnancy: The Longer-Term Impacts of Steps to Success. This report presents evidence on the longer-term impacts of the Steps to Success home visiting program for adolescent mothers in San Angelo, Texas.

(2) Focusing on the Boys: The Longer-Term Impacts of Wise Guys in Davenport, Iowa. This report presents evidence on the longer-term impacts of the Wise Guys Male Responsibility Curriculum in middle schools in and near Davenport, Iowa.

(3) Rapid Learning: Methods to Examine and Improve Social Programs. This brief provides an orientation to rapid learning methods and is based on a presentation at a recent OPRE meeting, Rapid Learning Methods for Testing and Evaluating Change in Social Programs.

(4) Using Data to Understand Your Program. This infographic provides a framework to help organizations think about how the data they may already be collecting or could collect can help answer questions about their program or identify areas for improvement.

(5) Matched Savings Program Strategies for Community Colleges. This report provides examples of Assets for Independence (AFI) and Individual Development Account (IDA) programs that assist students to pay for community college.

(6) National and Tribal Evaluation of the 2nd Generation of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 2.0): Impact Evaluation Design Plan. This report presents detailed plans for the Impact Evaluation of the second round of Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG 2.0) to understand what difference the program made.

(7) Parents and Children Together (PACT): Documentation Report for PACT Healthy Marriage Restricted Use Data Files. This report provides documentation to accompany the Parents and Children Together (PACT) Healthy Marriage (HM) Impact Study restricted use data files that will be archived at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

(8) Parents and Children Together (PACT): Documentation Report for PACT Responsible Fatherhood Restricted Use Data Files. This report provides documentation to accompany the Parents and Children Together (PACT) Responsible Fatherhood (RF) Impact Study restricted use data files that will be archived at the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

New Reports 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) An Examination of the Use and Effectiveness of Child Support Enforcement Tools in Six States. This report describes a study that examined the variation in how states and localities implemented enforcement tools for child support programs as well as the perceived effectiveness of these enforcement tools for different noncustodial parent populations.

(2) Factsheet: Estimates of Child Care Eligibility & Receipt for Fiscal Year 2016. This brief provides descriptive information on child care eligibility and receipt for fiscal year 2016.

(3) 2018 HHS Health and Human Trafficking Symposium—Takeaways and Next Steps. This report details takeaways and next steps from the HHS Health and Human Trafficking Symposium in November, 2018.

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), Department of Education:    

(1) The Effects of a Principal Professional Development Program Focused on Instructional Leadership. This report describes a study that sought to better understand the effectiveness of an intensive principal professional development program focused primarily on helping principals conduct structured observations of teachers' classroom instruction and provide targeted feedback based on those observations.

(2) 2019 NAEP Mathematics and Reading Assessments: Highlighted Results at Grades 4 and 8 for the Nation, States, and Districts. This report presents an overview of results from the NAEP 2019 mathematics report and the 2019 reading report.

(3) Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Survey Analysis. This report reviews what types of K-12 data elements are included in state systems, data linking with other systems, and how the data are used for reporting and decision making.

(4) Children's Knowledge and Skills at Kindergarten Entry in Illinois: Results from the First Statewide Administration of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey. This report describes a study that examined a recently required observational kindergarten entry assessment in Illinois and the variation in children’s knowledge and skills at school entry.

(5) Adoption of, Enrollment in, and Teacher Workload for the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum in California High Schools. This report describes a study that explored the characteristics of schools that adopted a college preparatory English language arts course, the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum (ERWC).

(6) National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Centers Program Final Report. This report describes an evaluation on how Comprehensive Technical Assistance (TA) Centers designed and implemented TA, challenges encountered, and outcomes achieved.

(7) A Review of Instruments for Measuring Social and Emotional Learning Skills Among Secondary School Students. This report is intended to support state and local education agencies in identifying reliable and valid instruments that measure collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulated learning among secondary school students.

(8) Associations Between the Qualifications of Middle School Algebra I Teachers and Student Math Achievement. This report describes the associations between middle school teacher qualifications and student achievement in Algebra I.

(9) Profile of Very Low- and Low-Income Undergraduates in 2015–16. This brief describes the demographic and enrollment characteristics, financial aid, and price of attendance for very low- and low-income undergraduate students, and compares these with students whose family incomes were above the federal poverty level.

(10) Teacher Preparation Experiences and Early Teaching Effectiveness. This report examines the relationship between teacher preparation experiences and teachers' effectiveness in improving their students’ test scores.

(11) Evaluation of Support for Using Student Data to Inform Teachers' Instruction. This report assesses an intensive approach to supporting teachers' use of student data to tailor their instruction.

(12) Trends in Pell Grant Receipt and the Characteristics of Pell Grant Recipients: Selected Years, 2003–04 to 2015–16. This report presents data from four administrations of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (2003–04, 2007–08, 2011–12, and 2015–16) on the percentage of undergraduates who received a Pell Grant and the average amount they received.

(13) Forum Guide to Planning for, Collecting, and Managing Data About Students Displaced by a Crisis. This report provides best practice information for collecting and managing data about students who have temporarily or permanently enrolled in another educational setting because of a crisis.

(14) School Choice in the United States: 2019. This report describes the landscape of school choice in the U.S. and discusses the changes over time in enrollment in traditional public, public charter, and private schools, as well as changes in the number of students who were homeschooled.

(15) Student Victimization in U.S. Schools: Results From the 2017 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. This brief uses data from the 2017 School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to examine student criminal victimization and the characteristics of crime victims and nonvictims.


U.S. Federal Funding Opportunities

The October 2019 FFO lists over 100 funding opportunities for research, evaluation, and dissemination, including three highlighted NIH funding opportunities. The first is a funding opportunity to support research to address ethical issues in translational science research. The second is a funding opportunity for research to examine 1) the impact of Human-Animal Interactions (HAI) on typical and atypical child development and health; 2) the evaluation of animal-assisted intervention for children and adults with disabilities or in need of rehabilitative services; 3) the effects of animals on public health, including cost effectiveness of involving animals in reducing and preventing disease. The third is a funding opportunity to promote a greater understanding of the challenges faced by rural population groups, for the development (or adoption/adaptation) of evidence-based interventions that can reduce health risks faced by rural Americans. Read about these and other funding opportunities.