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March 2016

University - Based Child and Family Policy Consortium Newsletter

Table of Contents:

Linking Research to Policy: The White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team

Patricia Barton, Hannah Klein, Marty Zaslow 
The purpose of this column is to introduce CFP Consortium members to a White House initiative that is linking research and policy in an innovative way. The White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) was launched in February of 2014 to improve government efficiency and effectiveness through the use of behavioral science insights. SBST’s launch was followed by a September 2015 Executive Order directing Federal agencies to use social and behavioral science to better serve the American people. The Executive Order states “a growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights – findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them- can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people.”
The Social and Behavioral Sciences Team, organized under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), is a cross-agency team made up of researchers with backgrounds in a diverse array of fields including: psychology, economics, policy, law, medicine, statistics, and political science. Operating at the cabinet level under NSTC with support from the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) at the General Services Administration (GSA), the overarching goal of the SBST is to use what research says about how people make decisions to improve government efficiency. SBST does this through a variety of projects focusing on ensuring that government programs are easy to access, understand, and use.  This need stems from research that illustrates that small barriers such as poorly presented choices, burdensome applications, or poorly structured communications can prevent programs from working effectively. SBST is tasked with providing policy guidance to Federal agencies to help them better incorporate insights from social and behavioral science into their everyday work.
Despite its short history, the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team has used behavioral insights to streamline access to and improve efficiency of a diverse array of government programs. Collaborating with Federal agencies, SBST has worked to expand access to programs focused on: promoting retirement security for Servicemembers, improving college access and affordability, advancing economic opportunity for Veterans and small farmers, and helping families enroll in health insurance coverage. SBST also identified places where the government can save money and run programs more efficiently. For example, moving a signature box to the top of an online data-entry form for Federal vendors led to a more accurate representation of self-reported sales figures and an additional $1.59 million in fees collected in a single quarter. This led to such a substantial change in program compliance that the General Services Administration, which provides administrative support to more than 1 million Federal civilian workers, is permanently changing its online data-entry forms to include the signature box at the top.
While the bulk of SBST projects thus far have tended to focus on adults, recent projects are beginning to emphasize children and youth. For example, two recent projects focus on the transition to adulthood. One project addresses preventing “summer melt” – the phenomenon of college-accepted students failing to enroll in college in the fall. SBST and the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) within the U.S. Department of Education provided technical expertise to the nonprofit uAspire on crafting a series of eight personalized text messages for students and their parents reminding them of the required pre-matriculation tasks they must complete (such as signing up for orientation and completing financial aid paperwork). Among the low income students, the text message reminders led to a 5.7 percentage point increase in college enrollment, from 66.4 percent to 72.1 percent. In another example, SBST and FSA found that sending a single informational email about income-driven repayment (IDR) options to student loan borrowers who had fallen behind on their payments increased enrollment in IDR plans fourfold. SBST and FSA saw 4,327 new applications within twenty days of the email being sent.
Evaluations efforts have been institutionalized as part of the work of the SBST. The combination of their knowledge of human behavior, economics, and scientific research, as well as their position within the government, makes them uniquely suited to study how people participate in and respond to government policies and programs.

Are you interested in becoming the new newsletter columnist? Contact Patricia Barton to learn more.

Past Consortium Calls

 A recent Consortium webinar, entitled, "Becoming a Better Policy Researcher" was held on January 25, 2016, this webinar was moderated by Dr. Nina Philipsen Hetzner, Administration for Children and Families, US DHHS and Dr. Tracy Carter Clopêt, SRCD Policy Fellow, Administration for Children and Families, US DHHS. The webinar featured Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, University of Texas at Austin, Population Research Center and Dr. Rachel Chazan Cohen, University of Massachusetts Boston as presenters.
Watch here
 A recent Consortium webinar, entitled, "The Impact of Terrorism on Children: What Harms, What Helps" was held February 16, 2016. Based on an SRCD Social Policy Report written by James Garbarino and colleagues, and the Social Policy Report Commentary by Ann Masten, this webinar discussed the research on the effects of children's exposure to terrorism.
Watch here
 Look for announcements on the Consortium listserv about future Consortium Calls. 
Interested in suggesting a topic for a call? Contact Patricia Barton, Consortium Coordinator. 

Consortium Membership

The CFP Consortium invites new university-based programs to join.

Consortium membership is available on an institutional level and includes, but is not limited to, university-based centers and programs that represent the social, behavioral, and health sciences fields, including anthropology, economics, human development, nursing, pediatrics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. All persons affiliated with a member institution (e.g., faculty, staff, students) benefit from Consortium membership. People who are affiliated with member institutions are welcome to engage in Consortium Calls and events and to join the Consortium listserv.

For more information on how to join, please contact  
Patricia Barton


CFP Consortium Seeks Newsletter Columnist

We are looking for a new CFP Consortium volunteer newsletter columnist to interview Consortium members and write the “Linking Research to Policy” column for the Consortium’s quarterly newsletter. This is a great opportunity for a student with a focus on child and family policy to speak with leaders in the field and gain experience writing about the intersection of research and policy. The columnist would report to, and collaborate with, staff in the Society for Research in Child Development’s Office for Policy and Communications in Washington D.C. The position can be fulfilled remotely at any Consortium institution. Are you interested in becoming the new CFP Consortium newsletter columnist?  Please contact Patricia Barton to learn more.

New CFP Consortium Coordinator 

Patricia Barton joined SRCD's Office for Policy and Communications in January as the new Senior Associate and CFP Consortium Coordinator. Patricia will now be the primary point of contact for all CFP Consortium communications at SRCD and will be in touch regularly on the listserv, during webinars, and through the newsletter. She welcomes updates from you about the activities at your university, job postings, and opportunities to participate in meetings related to child and family policy. Please feel free to reach out to her at or 202.289.7905.

Member News & Resources

Consortium members at the University of Minnesota share two new resources:

A new brief released by the Center of Excellence for Children’s Behavioral Health at the Georgia Health Policy Center details the benefits and barriers to developing such programs, as well as some considerations for designing a financially sustainable school-based mental health program.

Boston College’s Lynch School of Education was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to support a STEM career pathways program in collaboration with Massachusetts Bay Community College.
Click here to learn more.

On January 12, 2016, the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University hosted “Innovative Partnerships for Healthy Children and Youth” as part of their 2015-2016 Conversation Series. For more information,
click here.

The University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall recently released a policy brief in collaboration with the Chadwick Center for Children at Rady Children's Hospital entitled Using Evidence to Accelerate the Safe and Effective Reduction of Congregate Care for Youth Involved with Child Welfare. To read the full brief, click here.

Dr. Ariel Kalil of the University of Chicago’s Center for Human Potential and Public Policy discusses poverty, parenting, and child development in this brief video for Australia’s Life Course Centre.
Click here to watch.

The SAGE Handbook of Early Childhood Research, co-edited by Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan of Columbia University’s National Center for Children and Families, was recently published.

The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research’s New York State 4-H Youth Development Program was featured on the cover of Human Ecology Magazine this fall.
Click here to learn more.

A study on “soft” skills co-authored by Dr. Kenneth Dodge of Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy was recently featured on NPR.
Click here to read more.

Dr. William Gormley of Georgetown University’s Center for Research on Children in the United States recently appeared on PBS Newshour to discuss Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program.
Click here to watch the segment.

Dr. Dana Dolinoy of the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development was recently featured on PBS NewsHour for her research in epigenetics.
Click here to watch the segment.

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska recently launched a new fellowship program to support early childhood research at the University of Nebraska.
Click here to learn more.

Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change recently presented at a Migration Policy Institute webinar on children with unauthorized immigrant parents.
Click here to watch the archived webinar.

The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina recently launched a comprehensive study of early learning experiences of children in rural North Carolina.
Click here to learn more.

Dr. Simone Ispa-Landa of Northwestern University’s Human Development and Social Policy Program recently wrote about academia’s “baby penalty” for U.S. News & World Report.
Click here to read more.

Dr. Paul Morgan of Pennsylvania State University’s Children, Youth & Families Consortium recently published a study on early science achievement gaps in Educational Researcher.
Click here to read more.

Dr. Sara McLanahan, director of the Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University, recently discussed lessons learned from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study.
Click here to read more.

The University of Texas at Austin’s Child and Family Research Partnership recently hosted the first annual Texas Fatherhood Summit entitled “Building the Evidence Base for Fatherhood Programs.”
Click here to view videos and presentations from the summit.

Dr. Becky Pettit of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin has recently been selected to co-direct the Texas chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, a network that facilitates conversation between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.
Click here to learn more.


Conference Calendar   

American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting: April 8-12, 2016 in Washington, DC
The AERA Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research. In AERA's Centennial Year, the Annual Meeting will celebrate and reinvigorate the progressive aspirations that gave rise to its professional community in 1916: hope and determination that research can strengthen public education, society’s most democratic institution. To mark this occasion, the 2016 Meeting will illuminate and enhance the role of education researchers as public scholars who contribute to public understanding, political debate, and professional practice in increasingly diverse democracies in the US and around the globe. Click here to learn more.

American Psychological Association Annual Convention: August 4-7, 2016 in Denver
Interested in presenting at the 2016 APA convention in Denver? Registration opens on April 15, 2016. Click here to learn more. 

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting: August 20-23, 2016 in Seattle, WA
The Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association provides the opportunity for professionals involved in the scientific study of society to share knowledge and new directions in research and practice. Nearly 600 program sessions are convened during the four-day meeting held every August to provide participation venues for nearly 3,000 research papers and networking opportunities for over 4,600 presenters. Click here to learn more.

ACF's National Research Conference on Early Childhood: July 11-13, 2016 in D.C.
Save the date for ACF’s National Research Conference on Early Childhood (formerly Head Start's National Research Conference).

Society for Research on Adolescence 2016 Biennial Meeting: March 31 - April 2, 2016 in Baltimore
SRA’s Biennial Meeting will be held this spring in Baltimore, Maryland. Click here to learn more.

Society for Research in Child Development: Special Topic Meeting, October 6-8, 2016, Tampa
Beginning early in life boys and young men of color are at risk because of their race/ethnicity and their
gender, with numerous data sources underscoring the additive and interactive risks that boys of color
encounter. This special topic meeting, "Babies, Boys and Men of Color," will focus on some of the critical issues currently affecting the developmental status of babies, boys, and men (emerging adults) of color, with a strong emphasis on understanding how experiences across multiple key contexts shape their development. The broad goals of this conference are to summarize the state of knowledge in the area and to identify key directions needed for knowledge and action. The meeting will offer opportunities for scholars to discuss and receive feedback on future research and works in progress.
Click here for more information. Call for submissions now open. 

Southeastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting: March 30 - April 2, 2016 in New Orleans
The Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) is a regional association affiliated with the American Psychological Association. Click here to learn more about their next annual meeting. 

Southern Sociological Society meeting: April 13-16, 2016 in Atlanta, GA
The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society will be held in April 2016. It is entitled “The Politics of Marriage: From Intimacy to Public Policy.” The call for papers is organized around three mini-conferences that will focus on Teaching Multiple Publics; Marriage Equality; and Rethinking Marriage: Race, Class and Public Policy. Click here to learn more.


Call for Applications: Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop, June 15 - 17, 2016

The Columbia Population Research Center is now accepting applications for the Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop 2016, which will be held June 15-17 at Columbia University in New York City. The workshop is designed to familiarize participants with the data available in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a national study following a birth cohort of (mostly) unmarried parents and their children, providing information about the capabilities, circumstances, and relationships of unwed parents, the wellbeing of their children, and the role of public policy in family and child wellbeing. The application deadline is March 13, 2016. For more information and to apply online, click here.

Call for Proposals: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Policies for Action 

As part of efforts to better understand the wide range of influences that can help build a “Culture of Health”, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program—Policies for Action—is launching its first call for proposals for innovative research that can inform what policies can serve as levers to improve population health and well-being, and achieve greater levels of health equity. Click here to learn more about this funding opportunity.  Application deadline: March 15, 2016
Call for Applications: American Psychological Association Section on Child Maltreatment Dissertation Grant Award 
The American Psychological Association’s Section on Child Maltreatment announces its annual dissertation grant award. A $400 grant will be awarded to one successful graduate student applicant to assist with expenses in conducting dissertation research on the topic of child maltreatment. The award includes a one-year free membership in the Section on Child Maltreatment.  To apply, please submit: a letter of interest indicating how you would use the award funds toward the completion of dissertation research; a 100-word abstract; and a five-page proposal (inclusive of tables, references, etc.) of the research to be conducted. Please submit applications to Jennifer Kaminski. Application deadline: March 21, 2016.

Internships, Fellowships, & Job Postings

Postdoctoral Positions

Comprehensive Communities Initiative Fellow, Center for Promise

Wellness and Adversity Fellow, Center for Promise 

Job Opportunities 


Submit to the Newsletter!

We are always accepting Consortium news, resource information, and other relevant material to highlight in the newsletter. The next newsletter will come out in the Summer. 

Please send suggestions and submissions to 
Patricia Barton

Copyright © 2016 Society for Research in Child Development, on behalf of the University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium

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