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September 2016

University - Based Child and Family Policy Consortium Newsletter

Table of Contents:

Translating Research for Policymakers: An Interview with Dr. Karen Bogenschneider

By Sarah Patterson, Doctoral Student, Sociology and Demography, Penn State University
Translating research should be considered an important endeavor for researchers because policymakers rely on research findings to design and justify proposed legislation, policies, and programs. However, most policymakers are not trained to analyze and conduct research and most researchers are not trained on effectively translating their research to policymakers. 

In order to better understand how researchers can translate their work to a policy audience, I spoke with Dr. Karen Bogenschneider, Rothermel-Bascom Professor of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who founded and has directed the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars for 24 years. Dr. Bogenschneider is well known for her work on family policy.

First, what is Family Policy?
“Family policy can be any policy that deals with the functions of family. This ranges from policies that provide economic support to families to other areas such as elder care and childrearing.” Dr. Bogenschneider clarifies that family can be defined structurally, in terms of who is inside and outside a family. For example, when passing legislation about child support, a structural definition of family utilizing “marriage” as a criterion, versus a definition utilizing “adoption” or “biology” becomes important. On the other hand, the functional definition of family may be important to other legislation. For instance, with elder care, the family may be defined as whoever is available to provide care, including friends and neighbors. Overall, she notes that “We define family according to what you are trying to accomplish with the legislation."

How did you learn to translate research to policymakers?
“When I started out doing it – my mentor introduced me to key people in the legislature.” Dr. Bogenschneider’s mentor was a legislative liaison with the university Extension, a branch of the university that is responsible for connecting the university to the community, usually through programming. She found that directly asking legislators what they needed was also key: “We interviewed high-level leaders and asked if seminars would be helpful; they said ‘yes and can you do it right away?’ I basically learned it by doing it. I was well prepared as a researcher with a background in research, journalism, and family – so I learned as I went.”

Why do you think there is a gap between researchers and policymakers?
Dr. Bogenschneider utilizes community dissonance theory to explain her take on this: “The policy culture is so different than the research culture. One reason research is under-utilized is because researchers and policymakers operate in different communities with different goals, languages, reward systems, and ways of interacting. To be successful in the policy community, you need to understand the professional culture and the institutional culture.” This includes the ways in which legislators receive information, but also how they may use the research themselves. She notes, “There is a wide gap between the production of research and its consumption by policymakers.”

What is the best way to bridge this gap between researchers and policymakers?
“Attend a listening session with your local representative. Introduce yourself to the policymaker. Have a one-page sheet of your expertise and background. Offer to be a resource, which works best if you differentiate yourself by not lobbying for a particular policy outcome. Go to a town hall or listening session – you can even do it virtually because hearings are recorded.” She also suggests working to improve your public policy and translational background, noting that economics courses that teach cost-benefit analyses, policy courses, and journalism training may be helpful.

She goes on to provide an example of this in her own work: “We interview policymakers before (the seminars) about exactly what they want to know.” As for preparing materials for them, “We use the journalistic approach – we start with the conclusion and then work backward. What is the problem?  What contributes to the problem? What does the research say about what works?  And what are the consequences of various policy options (instead of advocating for just one)?” 

Again, the best way to translate the research is to think like a policymaker. “As I’m writing, I imagine that person standing in front of an audience, such as a Kiwanis meeting. What would I say, as a policymaker, in front of that audience if I only had four or five minutes? Policymakers use data for themselves but they also use it in a slightly different way --to persuade others to support their point of view.” She also stresses the important of high-quality and objective information, noting that “Policymakers need credible information because the whole system is based on trust. One way they earn trust from their constituents and colleagues is by providing high-quality information that holds up to the scrutiny that is sure to come.”

For those who are not directly involved in policy work, what are some other ways researchers can get involved in helping policymakers?
There are a lot of ways to influence policy. You may ask more policy-relevant and family-sensitive questions in your research. You may teach and prepare the next generation of policy professionals. You may advocate for an issue you feel passionately about. I’ve chosen more of an educator role, but clearly we need people in all these roles.” She finds that overall one important advantage of the educational approach is that it allows you to be effective over time, no matter what the current political climate is. By providing high-quality, concise, and family friendly information to policymakers, students, and the public, one has several avenues for making an impact in his or her own way.

To find out more about Dr. Bogenschneider’s work, please visit The Family Impact Seminars originated in Wisconsin, where 34 seminars have been held since 1993. The emphasis is on providing objective, evidence-based information to legislators.

Additional Resources 
Bogenschneider, K. (2014). Family policy matters: How policymaking affects families and what professionals can do. Routledge.

Bogenschneider, K., & Corbett, T. J. (2011). Evidence-based policymaking: Insights from policy-minded researchers and research-minded policymakers. Routledge.

Brownson, R. C., & Jones, E. (2009). Bridging the gap: translating research into policy and practice. Preventive medicine, 49(4), 313-315.

Lee, M., & Belohlav, K. (2014). Communicating research to policy makers: Researchers' experiences. Population Reference Bureau.

Mirvis, D. M. (2009). From research to public policy: an essential extension of the translation research agenda. Clinical and translational science, 2(5), 379-381.

Otten, J. J. (2015). Getting research to the policy table: a qualitative study with public health researchers on engaging with policy makers. Preventing chronic disease, 12.

Upcoming Consortium Webinars

Register Now: Housing and Children’s Development: Research and Policy Considerations
This Consortium webinar will take place on Friday, September 30, 2016 from 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern.

Join the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium (CFP Consortium) Steering Committee, along with a distinguished discussant, as they discuss how housing and neighborhood contexts, especially in low income settings, contribute to children's development. The webinar will also provide an orientation to the work of the Consortium and opportunities for member engagement. Advance registration is required.
Speakers will include: 
Dr. Tama Leventhal, Tufts University, CFP Consortium Chair
Dr. Iheoma Iruka, University of Nebraska, CFP Consortium Vice-Chair
Dr. Sandra Newman, Johns Hopkins University 

To register, click here.
The 2016-2017 webinar series kicks off this week! Webinar topics to be covered this year include:
Supporting the Development of Children in Rural Communities

Writing and Dissemination for Non-Academic Audiences

Universal Home Visiting and many more!

Dates and more information will be available on the Consortium listserv soon.
Interested in suggesting a topic for a webinar? Contact Patricia Barton, Consortium Coordinator. 

Past Consortium Webinars

Watch here

Consortium Membership

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

Consortium membership is available at the 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, education, 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. Please share this information with colleagues who might be interested in having their institution join the Consortium.

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


Please Welcome a New Member to the Consortium!

The Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a new CFP Consortium member. The department offers three graduate programs: Medical/Clinical Psychology, Lifespan Developmental Psychology, and Behavioral Neuroscience, as well as a joint PhD-MPH track. With a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, UAB’s Department of Psychology is also home to a diverse array of labs, including those focused on youth development, child and adolescent health, cognitive & affective neuroscience, and youth safety, among many others.  

Steering Committee Leadership Transition

This summer, two of the Consortium’s long-serving Steering Committee members rotated off of the Steering Committee. We would like to extend a big thank you to Dr. Kenneth Dodge and Dr. Barbara Fiese for their many years of leadership on the Steering Committee, and for and guiding the Consortium through its transition to SRCD’s administration over the last year.

We are also excited to announce that the Consortium Steering Committee has appointed new leadership from among its existing members. Meet the new Steering Committee leadership below.

Dr. Tama Leventhal will now serve as Chair of the Consortium Steering Committee. A Professor in the Eliot-Person Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, her research is at the intersection of child development and social policy. Dr. Leventhal’s research focuses primarily on the role of neighborhood, community, and housing contexts in the lives of children, youth, and families. 

Dr. Iheoma Iruka will now serve as Vice Chair of the Consortium Steering Committee. She currently serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Iruka’s research focuses on how family and educational environments impact the development of low income and ethnic minority children, including  school readiness and social competence. 

Dr. Rebekah Levine Coley will now serve as the liaison between the Consortium Steering Committee and SRCD’s Committee for Policy and Communications. A Professor in the Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology Department at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, Dr. Coley’s research focuses on the family, school, and community processes that transmit social and economic inequality to children’s development. 

Save the Date for the 2017 Zigler Preconference - April 5, 2017 in Austin, TX

As in years past, the Consortium is co-hosting a preconference at the 2017 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in collaboration with SRCD’s Student and Early Career Council and Committee for Policy and Communications. The 2017 preconference will focus on the research on social and emotional learning and its applications, and will feature presentations by four experts addressing social and emotional learning in the context of early childhood, youth development, and implications for policy and practice. Information on how to register for the event will be sent to the Consortium listserv when registration opens in early 2017. To learn more about the SRCD Biennial Meeting, click here

Member News & Resources

Dr. Eric Dearing of Boston College’s Lynch School of Education was quoted in this recent Boston Globe article discussing the work of the Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME) Network.
Researchers from the Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy at Brandeis University recently published two articles on housing policy and families:
“Neighborhood Opportunity and Location Affordability for Low-Income Renter Families” and “Housing Decisions Among Low-Income Hispanic Households in Chicago.”
The Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University just released its 2015-2016 annual report, 
All Our Children Thriving, which highlights the activities and accomplishments of the center in the last year.
Researchers at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago recently released an
evaluation report on the QIC-ChildRep Best Practices Model for training attorneys who represent children in the child welfare system.
Dr. Ariel Kalil of the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy at the University of Chicago recently gave a
keynote presentation at the Society for Prevention Research’s annual meeting.
Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn of Columbia University National Center for Children and Families recently published a chapter in
Scientists making a difference: One hundred eminent behavioral and brain scientists talk about their most important contributions entitled “Transitions, timing, and texture: A developmental psychologist goes transdisciplinary.”
Researchers at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy recently published a
study that found that attention problems in early childhood have implications for achievement in later grades.
Dr. Joshua Brown of Fordham University and Dr. Mark Greenberg of Pennsylvania State University recently published an
issue brief on the causes, consequences, and program and policy responses to teacher stress.
A recent study on the middle school follow-up to the Tulsa Head Start program by Georgetown University’s Dr. Deborah Phillips, Dr. William Gormley, and Dr. Sara Anderson was mentioned in this
US News article on the recent major revision of the Head Start Program Performance Standards.
Researchers at the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center recently published
a study looking at how parents’ emotional responsiveness and feeding practices relate to children’s weight gain.
Dr. Craig Smith of the University of Michigan’s Center for Human Growth and Development recently wrote an article for The Conversation entitled
“Should parents ask their children to apologize?” 
An initiative of the University of Minnesota Extension’s Children, Youth and Family Consortium is highlighted in
this article on improving community-police relations.
Dr. Samuel Meisels, Director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, recently published
an op-ed on the rising costs of child care.
New York University’s Dr. Charlton McIlwain recently published
a study on how racial inequality is fostered online that has been covered by several news outlets.
Two projects of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina
received special recognition at the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) project directors’ meeting.
new study from Dr. Kirabo Jackson of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy found various positive outcomes associated with single-sex schooling in secondary schools.
The Early Childhood Education Institute at the University of Oklahoma - Tulsa will be hosting its
10th annual Early Childhood Learning Institute, “The Building Blocks of Resilience in a Trauma-Filled World,” on November 11.
Pennsylvania State University’s Social Science Research Institute is hosting two upcoming conferences that will focus on
trauma informed schools and sleep across the life course.
Dr. Sara McLanahan, director of the Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University, and colleagues recently published an ebook entitled
“Children of the Great Recession."
Dr. Stephen Russell of the University of Texas at Austin’s Population Research Center recently published an
op-ed on the risks that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths face in school.


Open Calls for Conference Proposals and Papers (listed by date) 

Now Accepting Submissions:  Southern Sociological Society Annual Meeting: March 29-April 1, 2017 in Greenville, SC
The theme of The Southern Sociological Society’s 2017 meeting is “Diversities: Inequality, Inclusion, and Resistance.” Submissions are currently being accepted for three types of presentations: papers, posters, and research incubator sessions. The submission deadline is November 15. Click here for more information.
Now Accepting Submissions: Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting: May 30-June 2, 2017 in Washington, DC

The theme of the Society for Prevention Research’s 25th Annual Meeting is “Prevention and Public Systems of Care: Research, Policy, and Practice.” The submission deadline is October 31. Click here for more information.
Now Accepting Submissions: American Psychological Association Annual Convention: August 3-6, 2017 in Washington, DC
The American Psychological Association seeks submissions for the collaborative program, continuing education workshops, division individual and program proposals, and the APA film festival for its 125th annual convention. Submission deadlines vary by type of submission. Click here for more information.

Conference Calendar (listed by date)

Society for Research in Child Development Special Topic Meeting on Babies, Boys, and Men of Color: October 6-8, 2016 in Tampa, FL
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.

Society for Research in Child Development Special Topic Meeting on Technology and Media in Children’s Development: October 27-30, 2016 in Irvine, CA
The use of digital devices and social media is ubiquitous in the environment of 21st century children. From the moment of birth (and even in utero), children are surrounded by media and technology. This meeting will provide a forum for intellectual and interdisciplinary exchange on media and technology in development and is designed to appeal to a range of participants from the seasoned media researcher to technology developers to developmentalists who need to understand more about the role of technology and media in children’s lives. Click here for more information.

National Association for the Education of Young Children 2016 Annual Conference: November 2-5, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA
Register now for NAEYC’s Annual Conference & Expo. The preliminary program is available here. Click here for more information.

Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management 2016 Fall Research Conference: November 3-5 in Washington, DC
The APPAM Fall Research Conference is a multi-disciplinary annual research conference that attracts the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. The conference is comprised of panels, roundtables, workshops, symposia, and poster presentations and is designed to encourage substantive interaction among participants. The 2016 conference theme is “The Role of Research in Making Government More Effective.” Click here for more information.

Zero to Three Annual Conference: December 7-9, 2016 in New Orleans, LA
Register now for Zero to Three’s annual multidisciplinary education and networking event (formerly the National Training Institute—NTI) for early childhood professionals, titled “Building Powerful Connections.” Click here for more information.

Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting: April 6-8, 2017 in Austin, TX
The overarching theme for the 2017 Biennial Meeting is “Developmental Science and Society.” Supporting this theme are four areas of emphasis: 1) Poverty, Inequality and Developmental Science 2) Global Change and Child Development 3) Neuroscience and Child Development and 4) Behavioral Science and Public Policy. Click here for more information.

National Head Start Association Annual Conference and Expo: April 6-10, 2017 in Chicago, IL
NHSA's Annual Head Start Conference and Expo is the largest national event devoted to the Head Start and Early Head Start community. Each year, more than 4,000 executive directors, directors, administrators, managers, teachers, policy council members, and parents attend from every state. Click here for more information.

Child Abuse and Family Violence Summit: April 11-14, 2017 in Portland, OR
The theme of the 2017 Child Abuse and Family Violence Summit is “The Power of One in Collaboration with Others.”  Registration opens in early January. Click here for more information.

Population Association of America Annual Meeting: April 27-29, 2017 in Chicago, IL
Save the date for PAA’s annual meeting. Registration opens in December. Click here for more information.

American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting: April 27-May 1, 2017, San Antonio, TX
The 2017 AERA Annual Meeting theme is "Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity." Click here for more information.

American Sociological Association Annual Meeting: August 12-15, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The theme for ASA’s 2017 annual meeting is “Culture, Inequalities, and Social Inclusion across the Globe.” The online submission site will open on November 1, 2016. Click here for more information.


Internships, Fellowships, & Job Postings

Postdoctoral Positions and Fellowships

SRCD Policy Fellowships - Apply by 12/15/16

Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being - Apply by 12/1/16

Postdoctoral Fellow, Applied Developmental Psychology Department, Fordham University

Job Opportunities 

Submit to the Newsletter!

We are always accepting Consortium news, resource information, and other relevant material to highlight in the newsletter. Newsletters are published quarterly. 

Please send suggestions and submissions to 
Patricia Barton

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