2015: Science education
On Thursday, October 30, 2014 on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, Dr. Daryl Greenfield, a University of Miami professor and nationally acclaimed expert in early childhood research, visited Illinois to discuss how teaching science in preschool can improve classroom quality.
According to Greenfield, young children’s questioning is a powerful tool which they naturally use to gather information about their world and advance their cognitive development. Greenfield shared the latest evidence from the learning sciences that children learn best when they are active—both physically and mentally—and when they are engaged in a goal-directed activity illustrating new concepts. Science education is a powerful avenue to engage young children in these kinds of meaningful questioning and active learning.
Current mandates at the state and federal levels are requiring that programs pay close attention to interactions that happen in the classroom. Policies increasingly require measurement tools to certify quality consistent with the latest evidence. One widely used measure—the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)—looks at three broad domains: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support.
Whereas teachers across the nation are scoring relatively high in the emotional support and classroom organization categories, the instructional support scores are consistently low.
Instructional support encourages teachers to engage in a deeper level of teaching, in which they help children gain new, rich language and begin associating words with actions. This requires teachers to provide a stimulating environment and encourage children to ask questions.
“Science is the way to do all of these things,” Greenfield said. “Preschool is the time when children begin to understand what is important in life. Science draws upon their natural curiosity about how their world works.”
Recent research has shown that CLASS instructional support scores are higher, on average, during science than other activities (i.e. circle time, math, and reading). This is evident even when teachers use very basic science activities. Although average instructional support scores are still low across these types of activities, these findings suggest that more advanced science activities might produce even better results.
Greenfield also discussed how science can easily be integrated into other school readiness categories. He made the argument that science need not be a stand-alone unit, but can be a tool through which teachers can incorporate other domains, such as language and literacy, math skills, social and emotional development, physical development, creative arts, and English language acquisition.
Preschool children are not too young to grasp broad scientific concepts, Greenfield said. Teachers won’t be expected to teach them physics equations or chemistry. Instead, science in early childhood classrooms can draw on the basic scientific process of questioning, hypothesis making, and testing of new ideas.
Greenfield shared a number of examples from research studies he has conducted in partnership with Boston-area schools. Teachers are experimenting with science education in diverse ways that are attune to their local contexts, and are finding that children are receptive—even excited—by the approach.
Greenfield engaged in a hands-on activity with the audience that provided one possible lesson plan that included playing with, then examining and taking apart, a wind-up toy ladybug that jumped, flipped, and traveled across the table. The purpose of the activity was to guess how the ladybug works, then take it apart and examine the mechanics. Greenfield showed video clips of teachers and preschoolers in Boston engaged in a similar activity. (Link to ladybugs used in activity.)
Following the activity, several panelists discussed ways in which Illinois is testing the science approach. Catherine Main, a clinical faculty member at the College of Education at UIC, talked about her research into instructional improvement and early learning standards. Beth Crownover (left), the Director of Education at the Field Museum, described new efforts to create “little scientists” with Chicago Public Schools and museum resources that preschool teachers can check out from the museum for use in their classrooms. Kim Kull, director of the UIC Children’s Center, also talked about ways to incorporate science learning into existing curricula, including a pumpkin-growing experiment at her center.
This event was part of a larger effort at IGPA to delve into questions surrounding early investments in childhood care and education. The Early Investments Initiative seeks to help policymakers and practitioners access, understand, and contribute to the latest evidence about programs and policies in early care and education.
During Greenfield’s visit to Illinois, he met with policymakers and practitioners to discuss the latest research on policy implications of science education —especially related to instructional support and school readiness.
The events were co-sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, the Chicago Public Schools Office of Early Childhood Education, Illinois Action for Children and the UIC Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement.
2014: Safe infant sleep II
On May 20, 2014 in Washington DC, IGPA hosted a brainstorming meeting regarding unanswered questions in the prevention of infant mortality, particularly risks related to adult-infant bed sharing. Building on the 2013 Family Impact Seminar, Guarding All Children in Sleep: New Ideas for Reducing Disparities in Safe Sleep Practices, this innovative meeting aimed to nurture research-practice-policy partnerships that can support safe infant sleep practices in Illinois and other states.
At the 2013 Family Impact Seminar in Chicago, presenters demonstrated that despite a rapid decline in infant mortality in the U.S. in the 1990s, infant mortality rates plateaued in the 2000s. The U.S. still has higher rates of infant mortality than many other industrialized nations, and deaths attributed to accidental suffocation or unsafe sleep environments have been on the rise.
Particularly concerning are persistent racial and ethnic disparities in SIDS. The SIDS death rate remains almost double for black babies in contrast to whites nationally. In Illinois, there is a near four-fold difference in the SIDS rate between black and white babies.
Yet, debate continues about recommended policy and practice interventions to further reduce SIDS deaths. One controversial issue is the AAP recommendation that parents not bed share. In-depth interviews and focus group studies suggest that new strategies may be needed in order to adapt public health messages and interventions for particular subgroups. The intersection between recommendations to promote safe infant sleep and to promote breastfeeding is another important consideration, given some evidence of positive associations between bedsharing and breastfeeding.
The meeting in Washington DC, led by IGPA associate director and sociologist Rachel Gordon, was designed to bring together scholars and other stakeholders with differing perspectives on these topics. Because debate on this topic has sometimes been polarizing, they used an adversarial collaboration model to constructively critique proposed research questions and research strategies, with the aim of building in the alternative hypotheses, approaches, and analyses that scholars and practitioners from each vantage point would find most compelling. The desired end product was concrete ideas about new multidisciplinary research projects. The group also identified potential federal, state and local partners for these projects, recognizing the intersection of multiple layers of guidelines and legislation related to safe infant sleep practices.
Susan Altfeld, Clinical Assistant Professor, Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
Shavon Artis, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., Safe to Sleep Campaign, Public Communications Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health
Rachel Gordon, Professor, Department of Sociology, Associate Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago
Fern R. Hauck, MD, MS, Spencer P. Bass MD Twenty-First Century Professor of Family Medicine, Professor of Public Health Sciences, Director, International Family Medicine Clinic, University of Virginia, Department of Family Medicine
Barb Himes, IBCLC, Director of Education & Training, First Candle - Helping Babies Survive and Thrive
Darren Lubotsky, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago
Rochelle Mayer, Ed.D., Research Professor and Director, National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health, Georgetown University
Marian MacDorman, Senior Statistician, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control
Wendy Middlemiss, Associate Professor, University of North Texas
Rachel Moon, Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University, Children's National Medical Center, Center for Translational Science
Nadine Peacock, Associate Professor, Community Health Sciences, Maternal and Child Health Program, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza, Division of Reproductive Health (SIDS National Case Registry), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Lane Volpe, Medical Anthropologist, Vice President, The Implementation Group
2013: Safe infant sleep I
On Friday, April 26, 2013, more than 60 health practitioners and researchers attended the 2013 Family Impact Seminar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Guarding All Children in Sleep: New Ideas for Reducing Disparities in Safe Sleep Practices brought together researchers from across the country, and a keynote speaker from New Zealand, to discuss ways to end preventable infant death through public education.
The U.S. experienced rapid declines in infant mortality during the 1990s. These drops are widely attributed to the national “Back to Sleep” campaign, which began in 1994. Despite the progress made, the U.S. infant mortality rate plateaued in the 2000s. Particularly concerning is the fact that the U.S. still has higher rates of infant mortality than many other industrialized nations (for a full overview, see the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Infant Mortality Report). And, deaths due to accidental suffocation or unsafe environments have been on the rise.
Racial and ethnic disparities in SIDS also persist. According to Dr. Fern Hauck, Professor of Family Medicine and Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia, “Even back in 1995, and continuing to 2009 and 2010, the highest incidence of SIDS is in the Native American and Black populations.” Although we do see a decline in deaths across all races from 1992 on, we also still see racial disparity of about two to one in the Native American and Black populations compared to the Asian, Hispanic and White populations. “After declining from three to one in the nineties, it has stayed pretty rock solid over the past ten years or so,” Hauck said.
These problems—the plateau of infant death rates and persistent racial and ethnic disparities—require rethinking of and investment in new strategies to promote safe sleep practices.
Successful Education and Outreach in New Zealand
This year’s Family Impact Seminar was intended to create dialogue about strategies going forward. States are grappling with how to address this problem through public policy. Recent legislation in Illinois requires hospitals and child care providers to change their practices to promote safe sleep. There is also increasing debate over “bumpers,” or crib liners, which are now banned in the city of Chicago.
The seminar sought to provide one example of recent success through education and outreach, which occurred in New Zealand. The event featured a keynote presentation by Stephanie Cowan (above), founding director of Change for our Children, a social innovations company with a focus on solutions that benefit children. Cowan’s work in New Zealand has been immensely successful in decreasing the country’s ethnic disparity in infant death.
“The arms that lay a baby down for sleep have the greatest power to protect from sudden infant death. And these arms have more than 500 opportunities to get it right or get it wrong before a baby is 12 weeks old,” Cowan said. “These are the arms we need to resource.”
In New Zealand in the early 2000s, the disparity between the indigenous Maori population and the total population was very similar to the disparity for Black Americans today. Similarly to the U.S., New Zealand experienced a rapid decline in infant mortality with the "Back to Sleep" campaign, but then a leveling out in rates. However, in 2012 a sharp fall in deaths for Maori babies almost closed the inequality gap.
Cowan described the framework for her efforts in public education as a true commitment to “shifting the way we think.” The education campaigns sought to shift from telling parents what to do, to enabling them to do it. The efforts transformed the strict messages communicated to parents into principles that offered a framework enabling parents to apply information to different situations. As an example, a “fear of choking” was discussed in terms of “confidence in the gag and swallow reflex”. And most importantly, the campaign sought to transform perspectives on safe sleep from "avoiding risk" to "pursuing protection".
Cowan described three applications for this new thinking. One of the most headline-making efforts has been the Pepi-Pod sleep space program (see left--pepi means baby in Maori and pod is symbolic of protection in nature). The sleep space approach was created in response to unsafe sleeping practices in vulnerable groups, such as babies born prematurely, or living in an environment with a high incidence of smoking and (or) alcohol use.
The sleep space itself is a small, lined box that is set up with mattress and bedding for when babies sleep in, or on, an adult bed, on a couch, or away from home. Cowan stressed that the Pepi-Pod sleep space was not intended to replace traditional sleep spaces such as bassinets, but instead were created to address the common sleep practice of bed sharing in the Maori culture where smoking is also more common.
The campaign delivered the Pepi-Pods sleep spaces to vulnerable babies who were often in risky locations. The distribution began as an emergency response to a series of earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ in 2011 when families were displaced, and parents kept babies close as fear of aftershocks were widespread. The program has developed into a safe sleep intervention for more vulnerable babies generally.
When accepting the Pepi-Pod sleep spaces, parents receive a thorough safety briefing and other important issues to consider for safe sleep and infant care are discussed. The Pepi-Pod has been received exceptionally well by the more than 5,000 parents who have used it.
Two other applications used coordinated education approaches rooted in clear, inclusive language to support key conversations between practitioners and parents. One, “Te Awatea,” features a whole-community approach to smokefree pregnancies. Te Awatea is a Maori concept that means “from darkness to light.” A distinctive feature of the program was the participation of a network of community members for using conversation cards to promote smokefree pregnancies and support people to quit.
The second, “Through the tubes,” also used conversation cards to engage new parents in brief discussions about preventing accidental suffocation. Images on the card show the different ways that infants get oxygen both before and after birth and ways to protect airways during sleep. This approach has enabled practitioners to engage in educational conversations about infant sleep safety clearly and concisely with new parents.
Following the keynote, Dr. Wendy Middlemiss, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of North Texas, shared her efforts to translate Cowan’s success to the United States. Middlemiss’ efforts to create clear and accurate safe sleep information include the creation of websites for parents in both English and Spanish, as well as websites and training for pediatricians and nurses as part of residency training. She is also working on a webinar for clinical lactation consultants, and modules for in-home visiting by lay health advisors.
Dr. Middlemiss’ efforts build on another of Cowan’s innovations, called Baby Essentials. By focusing the education on dialogue between parents and practitioners, rather than a list of “dos” and “don’ts" Middlemiss said the campaigns seek to create messages that will work for the entire population.
Applying Lessons Learned in New Zealand to the United States
The second half of the event featured break-out sessions intended to provide the latest recommendations on safe sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and to discuss new ways to decrease disparities in the U.S.
Every five years, the American Academy of Pediatrics updates its recommendations for promoting safe infant sleeping environments. Dr. Hauck, a member of the Academy’s Task Force, shared the recommendations in a one of the sessions. The report summary can be found here and the technical report, including a background literature review and data can be found here.
The recommendations are detailed and based in long-term academic research, yet Hauck said communicating them will be the real challenge. “You must tailor your messages depending on your audience,” Hauck said. “Take into account the culture and beliefs of your audience. You want to enhance people’s feeling that what they are doing is right, and that they can do it.”
Tailoring messages was also a focus of Dr. Lane Volpe, a medical anthropologist and consultant on implementing evidence-based practice. Volpe discussed the importance of considering the tradeoffs mothers make in navigating nighttime infant care. For example, parents might use unsafe sleeping positions for their infants as a way to promote prolonged infant sleep periods and alleviate maternal sleep disruption.
Practitioners can be most effective when they identify and value parents’ needs and motivations, use a shared decision-making approach to develop strategies that meet those needs while ensuring infant safety, and acknowledge the rationale underlying many risk-related behaviors.
“Parenting behavior, including the management of infant sleep environments, involves complex trade-offs,” Volpe said. “And it is important to acknowledge that there may be costs involved in some of the behaviors we are asking parents to adopt. Therefore, it is important to support and enhance the capacity of individuals to implement desired behaviors and to assist parents in identifying strategies for negotiating trade-offs without compromising infant safety.”
In the second break-out session, Nancy Maruyama, RN, BSN, Director of Education, SIDS of Illinois, provided a formal training presented throughout the state by SIDS of Illinois on the latest safe sleep standards, and ways to communicate them to new families of different cultures and backgrounds.
2012: Differential response to child abuse and neglect
On Friday, April 27, 2012, IGPA hosted the 2012 Family Impact Seminar in Chicago on the topic of differential response, as part of the Council on Contemporary Families Annual Conference.
For as long as child protective service agencies have been in existence, they have been surrounded by a stigma in the communities that they serve. For decades, child protective services (CPS) has been battling the perception that the system separates parents, children, and siblings, effectively breaking apart families with devastating effects.
In addition to an uphill battle in perception, CPS agencies have been challenged by large volumes of child abuse and neglect reports and decreasing resources. Facing mounting challenges, Illinois stakeholders agreed that it was time to rethink approaches to helping families in need. Illinois is one of 17 states that is experimenting with an innovative new approach to child abuse and neglect called differential response.
Research has shown that one size does not fit all when it comes to child maltreatment. For the past several years, Illinois and many states across the nation have been undergoing a paradigm shift. Differential response offers tailored services to lower risk families in the child welfare system. At the 2012 Family Impact Seminar, hosted by IGPA and several co-sponsors (see below), researchers, practitioners, and experts on family policy gathered to discuss the effectiveness of differential response, and ways to ensure the approach’s success in Illinois.
The panel included widely respected experts on the differential response approach, including:
Womazetta Jones, Project Director, Differential Response, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
Tamara Fuller, Director, Children and Family Research Center, School of Social Work, UIUC
Kelly Crane, Child Welfare Policy Specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures
Joel Rosch, Senior Research Scholar, Policy Liaison, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University
What is Differential Response?
In November 2010, Illinois began implementing a 5-year trial approach to child protection services called differential response. Differential response is a new approach to serving clients reported for child abuse and neglect, depending on the severity of the allegation. Womazetta Jones, who is charged with implementing differential response with Illinois DCFS, said that differential response is for cases that are assessed as low- and moderate-risk. The assessment process takes into account the underlying conditions and factors that may jeopardize a child’s safety; for example: access to food, health care, and shelter.
In contrast to the traditional investigative approach, in which CPS agents seek evidence of maltreatment, differential response instead begins with creating a relationship with caregivers to build upon the strengths and needs defined by the family. Assessment are not formal, or in other words, once the child is determined to be safe, the caregiver is not entered into a central database. Participation is completely voluntary, and the caregiver will work with a caseworker to determine what services will best fit the strengths of their family unit. In Illinois, caseworkers provide intensive services, working with the family for a 60- to 90-day period.
“Under differential response, you don’t come into the system as a suspect,” said Joel Rosch of Duke University. “Differential response workers approach the parents first; that makes a big difference.” This shift in approach is intended to engage the family to create a system of support.
Illinois is implementing a paired team approach where one representative from DCFS will accompany one community-based service worker to meet with the family. Unique in Illinois, the differential response worker is separate from any work occuring in the CPS agency. According to the University of Illinois Children and Family Research Center, the differential response worker will act as a family coach or advocate. The worker has a maximum of 12 cases at one time, and is dedicated to each family as a change agent.
For example, if DCFS receives a report that a child is suffering from neglect, a caseworker will call the caregiver to set up a convenient time and place to meet to discuss the issue at hand. Once the caseworker conducts a home visit to determine that the child is safe, he or she will offer to work with the family to help meet their needs. If the family accepts the service, they will evaluate their strengths and find ways to address any issues. A caseworker may teach a mother how to diaper her new baby. Or, a caseworker may connect the mother to federal and statewide food assistance programs or help her secure reliable childcare.
The Illinois General Assembly were very involved in the decision to implement differential response in Illinois, said Kelly Crane of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois legislators helped define child abuse, found ways to fund the new approach, and legally required evaluation. This involvement has made a difference in the type of program enacted in Illinois. Crane said that differential response is being looked at in many states; 30 states have a program that includes at least some components of differential response, and 17 are implementing the approach in full.
Does it Work?
As more and more states begin to implement pilot programs of this nature, researchers are delving into the important component of evaluation. In 2009, Illinois was chosen as one of three states to participate in a research and demonstration program through the National Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response in Child Protective Services (QIC-DR). Along with Colorado and Ohio, Illinois will implement and evaluate a differential response program and undergo comprehensive evaluation from planning to implementation to long-term results.
So far, the evaluation has found that differential response is “going well,” according to Tamara Fuller (above, right) of the University of Illinois Child and Family Research Center, one of the organizations working with QIC-DR to research differential response in Illinois. “Client satisfaction measures are way up,” Fuller said. Clients report that they have more pathways to receive more services, and are satisfied with the help they receive. Workers also find that the system allows them to make more progress with clients.
The technical programming of differential response varies from state to state, so costs also vary. However, research shows that overall, differential response is slightly more expensive in the short-run, but has long-term cost savings.
Fuller said that one area where research could make a contribution is in evaluating effects on family functioning and wellbeing. Data are not available to make strong conclusions on how the approach is affecting the inner workings of the families in need.
Yet before declaring the approach a homerun, Rosch said practitioners and researchers must address some important misperceptions.
First, research has not shown that differential response leads to fewer reports. However, as Rosch pointed out, this does not mean that it is not working. More reports may instead indicate that families are more willing to seek help.
Second, the number and severity of cases judges face are not decreasing. Judges often express concern, because from their point of view, there has been little change. Yet oftentimes, Rosch said, this can be attributed to a decrease in the number of moderate- to low- risk cases going to court due to differential response intervention. The number of cases may not change due to the sheer backlog of cases in the system.
This brings up an important goal for implementation: clearly communicating the goals of differential response to all stakeholders, including judges, law enforcement agents, educators, child advocates, and the media.
What’s Next for Illinois?
In order for differential response to be effective in Illinois, the panelists pointed to a few key factors:
Systems must be in place to ensure realistic implementation
All groups involved must be committed to planning and evaluation systems
Stakeholders must be involved in every way possible—local schools, law enforcement agencies, and medical professionals should see differential response as a component of a wider effort to more effectively deliver a system of care to clients
CPS must convince parents that they are not going to “snatch children,” but instead are going to help the family access the essential services they need
Those leading the implementation process must also create a coordinated effort to explain the goals and effects of differential response to the media, legislators, judges, and other stakeholders, so that they understand how the paradigm shift is occurring, and its long-term policy goals
Speaking from experience with a similar approach in North Carolina, Joel Rosch had some clear advice for Illinois: “You can’t do this alone.” Rosch said that building allies with all social institutions will be essential to long-term success.
2011: Playful learning
On Saturday, February 19, the 2011 Illinois Family Impact Seminar in Aurora, Illinois brought together more than 150 Illinois child care providers and educators to discuss the importance of playful learning. Video of the event (produced by Chicago Access Network Television) can be seen here.
State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia opened the morning event by thanking the participants for playing such an important role in the state’s future. Rep. Chapa LaVia pointed out that the state must begin considering new strategies for education in order to be nationally competitive.
Keynote speaker Kathy Hirsh-Pasek took the stage for an engaging and educational talk about changing the lens we use to look at learning in early childhood. Hirsh-Pasek is a scholar at Temple University and is the author of two best-selling books about child development: Einsten Never Used Flashcards and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool.
Hirsh-Pasek presented scholarly evidence proving that play is an integral part of cognitive, emotional, and social development. When children are playing, Hirsh-Pasek said, they are building their skills in “The 6Cs:” collaboration, communication, critical thinking, content, confidence, and creative innovation.
As we enter the “knowledge age,” integrating information and innovation is key, which requires much more than simply memorizing facts and words. It requires creative, critical thinking skills in collaborative environments. Laying the foundation for this type of thinking begins in the earliest stages of life.
Time for play in classrooms has declined significantly in the past ten years. This time is being replaced by test preparation.
Our society confuses learning with memorization and test scores with success. This does not prepare children to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Why has this occurred? Hirsh-Pasek argued that we are misled by exaggerated science, societal forces, and marketing ploys.
Research has shown that playful learning trumps all other pedagogies. Students who are engaged in guided play at an early age consistently perform better as they advance through the school system.
There is a huge gap between what we know in the science and what we do in policy. It is time for the U.S. to focus time in classrooms on playful learning. Illinois can be a leader in putting the nation’s schools on the right track.
State Representative Roger Eddy addressed the participants after a short break. He discussed the importance of prioritizing education despite a difficult budget situation that will force cuts to many state-funded services.
A panel of experts discussed strategies at the state policy level for shifting the lens to develop curricula centered on playful learning. Panelists included:
Kay Henderson, Division Administrator, Early Childhood Education, Illinois State Board of Education discussed progress that has been made so far in Illinois and priorities for developing new approaches.
Pat Chamberlain, an expert on English language learners in preschool and a member of the Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Committee of the Illinois State Board of Education, discussed the ramifications of playful learning for students who speak English as a second language, and on enhancing diverse classrooms.
Sue Sokolinski, an elementary school teacher from Batavia with 20 plus years of experience in early childhood, described a specific strategy, The Daily Five, that elementary school teachers can use in their classrooms to incorporate more playful learning in their lesson plans on a daily basis.
2010: Social and emotional learning
On Monday, March 1, 2010, IGPA hosted the 2010 Family Impact Seminar at the Union League Club of Chicago.
The program included:
"The importance of social and emotional learning from historical and contemporary perspectives"
Roger P. Weissberg, President, Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and LAS Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
Barbara Shaw, Chair, Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership, and Director, Illinois Violence Prevention Authority
Christopher Koch, Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education
"Implementation of Illinois' social and emotional learning standards"
Caryn Curry, SEL Project Coordinator, Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership
Mary Tavegia, Principal, Cossitt Elementary School, La Grange, IL
Peter Mulhall, Director, Center for Prevention Research and Development, Institute of Government and Public Affairs
"Continuing Illinois' investment in social and emotional learning"
Gaylord Gieseke, Vice President, Voices for Illinois Children
Dawn Melchiorre, Policy Director, Voices for Illinois Children
2009: Families in economic crisis
On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, IGPA hosted the 2009 Family Impact Seminar at the Hilton Springfield in Springfield, Illinois.
The program included:
“Inequalities: Old and New”
Michael B. Katz, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History and Research Associate, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania.
“Making Work Pay in Illinois: Current Policies and Recommendations for Reform”
Sarah Fass, Policy Associate, Family Economic Security, National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University,
“Opportunities under the Recovery Act for Income Support for Low-Income Families”
Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Senior Policy Analyst, Workforce Development, Center for Law and Social Policy.
2008: Families under stress
On Thursday, May 1, 2008, IGPA hosted the 2008 Family Impact Seminar at the State Capitol Building in Springfield, Illinois.
The demand for long-term care is growing rapidly throughout the nation. The formal and informal long-term care sectors are large now and will need to expand and function well to met the predicted growth in demand in the coming decades. Increasingly, working families will have to support their own children and their parents simultaneously -- a circumstance that has led to the term "sandwich generation" to reflect the squeeze on families from both sides.
The program included:
"Population Aging: Is Illinois Ready?"
Jessica Polos, Policy Analyst, Office of the Illinois State Comptroller
"You Can Run, But You Can't Hide: Policy and Problems in Long-Term Care"
Joshua M. Wiener, Senior Fellow and Program Director, Aging, Disability and Long Term Care, RTI International
2007: After school programs
On Thursday, February 28, 2007, IGPA hosted the 2007 Family Impact Seminar in Springfield, Illinois.
The three speakers for this event made thought-provoking and insightful research-based presentations about how successful after-school programs achieve their goals, where Illinois ranks relative to other states on funding, innovative approaches other states are taking to design and fund their after-school programs, and how program quality can be assessed for program self-improvement and for accountability.
The program included:
"What Works in After-School Programs? Achieving Educational, Prevention, and Youth Development Goals"
Priscilla Little, Associate Director, Harvard Family Research Project
"After School: State Policies on Funding, Governance and Quality"
Jennifer Stedron, Program Manager, Education Program, National Conference of State Legislatures
"Assuring Quality in After-School Programs: What's Working in Other States?"
Charles Smith, Director, Youth Development Group, High/Scope Educational Research Foundation
2006: Reducing crime
On Thursday, February 23, 2006, IGPA hosted the 2006 Family Impact Seminar in Springfield, Illinois.
The seminar addressed a pressing policy issue facing families in Illinois. As in other states, Illinois' prison population grew substantially in the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, Illinois spends over $1 billion annually on corrections. The prison population also turns over rapidly, with over 40,000 prisoners expected to be released this year in Illinois. Of particular concern is the concentration of these previously incarcerated persons in a small number of communities and the fact that many will return to prison within a few years. The seminar was designed to present policymakers with research-based options for addressing these issues. The speakers summarized the cost-effectiveness of various crime-reduction strategies, discussed the impact of incarceration on families and the benefits of family-focused crime-reduction approaches, and presented innovative state policy options.
The program included:
"Using Taxpayer Dollars Wisely: What Works and What Does Not to Reduce Recidivism Rates"
Steve Aos, Acting Director, Washington State Institute for Public Policy
"Family-Focused Prevention of Delinquency and Crime"
Patrick Tolan, Director, Institute for Juvenile Research, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago
"Impact of Mothers' Incarceration: Findings for Illinois"
Susan George, Senior Researcher, Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago
"Legislative Policy Ideas: Justice Reinvestment in Connecticut and Other States"
The Honorable Mike Lawlor, Connecticut House of Representatives