Rapid Response Process


SRCD is reformulating its approach to social policy, based on significant member feedback from our strategic planning period in 2023. A new program to respond to policy issues is coming soon. This new program will replace the Rapid Response Process. In the meantime, SRCD is not accepting any RARS requests. This page is being left as an archive while we are in transition.

Please contact policy@srcd.org with any questions or concerns and stay tuned for exciting new initiatives to come!


SRCD is committed to promoting the use of the developmental sciences to improve the health, safety, and well-being of children. To this end, SRCD seeks to be both proactive and rapidly reactive to social policy issues. The goal of the Rapid Response Process (RRP) is to enable any SRCD member to nominate a topic for rapid engagement on a pressing policy issue. This process involves consultation with policy and content experts among the membership, SRCD Leadership Staff, Caucuses and committees, and Governing Council representation. Dissemination of evidence of relevance to children and families from adversely affected and marginalized communities is especially important.

How does SRCD determine whether to engage on a policy issue?

SRCD’s Rapid Response Process, as well as other policy engagement activities, are guided by five Principles for Social Policy Engagement that delineate why, and under what conditions, SRCD should engage on a particular policy issue:

  • Why should SRCD engage on the policy issue?
    1. To improve the development, health, safety, and well-being of children, especially those from historically marginalized or vulnerable populations (Beneficence Principle)
    2. To increase the application of developmental science in child and family policymaking (Influence Principle)
  • Under what conditions should SRCD engage in policy?
    1. Policy discourse fails to draw appropriately upon scientific evidence (Policy Discourse Principle)
    2. The scientific evidence is weighty and clear on the policy issue (Preponderance of Evidence Principle).
    3. Engagement is determined to be a strategic investment of SRCD’s resources to support its mission (Strategic Investment Principle)

The principles guide the determination of whether SRCD will engage with policymakers and other policy stakeholders on a policy issue when the beneficence, influence, policy discourse, and preponderance of evidence principles are met, and when policy engagement is determined to be a strategic investment of its resources to support its mission. Members interested in learning more about these principles and/or considering submitting a Rapid Response Request, please review SRCD’s Principles for Social Policy Engagement on SRCD Commons.

How might SRCD respond to a policy issue?

Our power and authority as a scientific society stems from our ability to draw upon SRCD’s unique expertise and communicate policy-relevant scientific evidence to policymakers to inform their decision-making. Any response created, supported, or endorsed by SRCD will represent a scientific perspective on the policy issue, accurately reflect the extant literature on the subject and draw appropriate policy-relevant implications for policymakers, utilize communication formats that are accessible, timely, and actionable for policymakers. Opinion statements will not be generated.

SRCD aims to produce responses that are useful to legislative and executive branch policymakers. Potential responses include, but are not limited to, 2-page policy briefs, sign-on letters, and expert panel webinars discussing policy topics. Please note that these products vary in their utilization of SRCD resources, and SRCD’s engagement decision will be influenced by the availability of resources.

For more information, please see SRCD’s Principles for Social Policy Engagement.


Process for Reviewing Rapid Response Requests

Member submits request. After reviewing SRCD’s Principles for Social Policy Engagement, please email policy@srcd.org. You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Describe the policy issue you would like SRCD to address and provide links to relevant resources (e.g., recent new coverage, pending legislation).
  • Describe why you think SRCD should engage on the policy issue. Be sure to address SRCD’s Beneficence and Influence Principles for Social Policy Engagement.
  • Describe why you think the developmental sciences could inform policymakers’ decision-making on the policy issue. Your response should address the Policy Discourse and Preponderance of Evidence Principles for Social Policy Engagement.  
  • Provide a list of researchers or areas of literature that would serve as an evidence base for the response.
  • Recommend a response product or activity you think would be appropriate to address this policy issue. If you have seen examples of evidence-based responses you would like SRCD to consider, please share links to those as well.

Step 1: Leadership reviews request. President, Executive Director, and Leadership Staff will consider whether the request aligns with SRCD’s Principles for Policy Engagement and reflects a pressing policy issue that requires immediate engagement.

Step 2: RARS Team reviews request and literature. The Rapid Assessment and Response Strategy (RARS) Team will review the alignment of the request with SRCD’s Principles for Social Policy Engagement, with particular emphasis on evaluating the extant literature to determine if it meets the Preponderance of Evidence Principle. See more information on the RARS Team.

Step 3: RARS Team submits recommendation. After reviewing the evidence base, the RARS Team will confer to determine a recommended course of action and submit the recommendation to SRCD leadership.

Step 4: Leadership reviews recommendation. The President, Executive Director, and Leadership staff will review the recommendation and its alignment with the Principles for Social Policy Engagement. Staff will also provide their evaluation of how the recommendation aligns with the SRCD’s strategic investment principle.

Step 5: Governing Council reviews request and makes decision. The President and Executive Director will brief the Governing Council on the review of the request’s alignment with the Principles for Social Policy Engagement and recommendation, who will then confer and vote on an appropriate course of action. The Governing Council will notify Leadership Staff of the decision regarding whether and if so, how to respond.

Step 6: SRCD implements response decision. Leadership Staff will support the production of the response and its dissemination.

Step 7. SRCD monitors reactions and feedback. Leadership Staff will respond as needed to any member/public reactions.

Note: A decision not to continue the Rapid Response process for a given topic does not preclude SRCD from taking other action to address a given topic. The Rapid Response Process is one mechanism SRCD has for addressing issues of significance, timeliness, and relevance, but is not the only mechanism for SRCD engagement on issues in the public interest.


Rapid Response Case Nomination Status

Date Initiated Nominated Topic Description Status Outcome
4/5/22 Request for SRCD to produce a policy brief that would address recent legislation in Florida that limits teacher’s instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation in grades K-3. Case Completed SRCD is widely distributing the Statement of the Evidence on Transgender and Gender Diverse Children and Youth and working with popular press to shed light on extant research on the topic.
4/9/21 Request for SRCD to produce a position statement and policy brief that summarize evidence on current legislative efforts that place restrictions on transgender and gender diverse children and youth. Case Completed SRCD produces position statement - Statement in Support of Transgender and Gender Diverse Children and Youth, and a policy brief
11/10/20 Request for SRCD to consider signing on to a letter about the establishment of a White House Office on Children and Youth and a White House Conference on Children and Youth Case Completed SRCD signs onto letter - Letter in Support of a White House Office on Children and Youth
5/27/20 Request for SRCD to provide guidance on how developmental science can inform the aspiration to become an antiracist society Case Completed SRCD produces webinar - Becoming an Antiracist Society: Setting A Developmental Research Agenda
4/15/20 Request for SRCD to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on racial and ethnic minority children, youth, and families Case Completed SRCD produces webinar – Supporting Asian/Asian American Children and Youth During the COVID-19 Pandemic, and a new Statement of the Evidence volume- Addressing Inequities in Education in the Era of COVID-19 on Marginalized Communities.
12/19/19 Request from the ACLU for SRCD to author an amicus brief about the harm of gender stereotypes on development Case Completed SRCD Co-Develops Amicus Brief on Gender-Differentiated Policies and Practices
12/10/19 Request for SRCD to be listed as a supporter of an externally-authored policy brief, “Addressing Trauma Caused by Separation of Migrant, Refugee, and Asylum-Seeking Children." Case Completed Externally-authored product best-suited for dissemination by SRCD.
9/25/2019 Request for SRCD to consider amicus brief on consequences of U.S. DACA rescission on recipient's children Case Completed SRCD Joins Other Child Health Experts in Support of Amicus Describing Traumatic Impact of DACA Rescission on Recipients’ Children
3/31/2019 Request for SRCD to produce developmental science guidance on interviewing unaccompanied children at the U.S. border Case Completed SRCD produces Child Evidence BriefQuestioning Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: Lessons from Developmental Science on Forensic Interviewing

Rapid Assessment and Response Strategy Team

To support the ability to respond rapidly to current events relevant to the developmental sciences, the process below involves the formation of a response team. The Rapid Assessment and Response Strategy (RARS) Team serves in an advisory capacity and is responsible for delving deeply into the policy issue, reviewing the extant literature and its policy implications, and formulating a recommendation on whether and how SRCD’s might respond to the policy issue. 

The RARS Team consists of twelve members representing various constituencies from the SRCD membership. Constituent groups nominate representatives for 3-year terms. At-large members are then selected by the Executive Director and Director for Policy to ensure a diverse range of policy-relevant expertise on the RARS Team, with advisory input from the RARS team members, Governing Council, and other constituent groups on potential candidates.