The Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars provides policymakers and professionals with nonpartisan, solution-oriented research and a family and racial equity lens on many of the complex issues being debated in state legislatures across the country. The Institute was founded in 1999 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension and continues the family impact mission of the federal Family Impact Seminar, which operated from 1976 to 1998 in Washington DC. The Family Impact Seminars aim to:
- Build greater use of and respect for evidence in policymaking,
- Encourage policymakers to examine policies and programs through a family impact and a racial equity lens, and
- Provide an opportunity for policymakers to build relationships across party lines
The Institute provides a number of resources for policymakers, practitioners, and others who work to use research to build better public policies for families.
- To assist policymakers, the Institute disseminates research and policy reports that provide a family impact perspective on current policy issues.
- To assist those who enact and implement policies and programs, the Institute has available procedures for conducting a family impact analysis and a number of checklists for examining how responsive policies, programs, and institutions are to family well-being.
- To assist professionals who want to create better dialogue between researchers and policymakers, the Institute provides technical assistance on what it takes to connect with policymakers, and how to establish Family Impact Seminars in their own state.
- To assist those who work with policymakers, the Institute conducts original research with policymakers on how they use research in their decisions and with professionals on what knowledge, skills, and attitudes are needed to communicate timely, high-quality information to policymakers in an accessible format.
The Institute connects research and state policymaking in several ways including the following:
- Using the Family Impact Seminar model, our affiliates around the country are bringing research and evaluations on family issues to state policymakers in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
- We are building a network of professionals who work with policymakers to facilitate dialogue on strategies for bringing research to bear on policymaking.
- We train professionals interested in working more closely with policymakers.
- We publish original studies, write books, and conduct analysis on how to make policymakers more research-sensitive and professionals more policy-sensitive.
- Our website serves as a repository of all Family Impact Seminar briefing reports and newsletters produced in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
The Institute promotes a family perspective in state policymaking several ways:
- We provide technical assistance to professionals conducting Family Impact Seminars for state policymakers in their state capitols.
- Our website serves as a clearinghouse of information about what a family perspective is, how to conduct a family impact analyses, and what tools and resources are available.
- Our website facilitates resource exchange for instructors who teach about family policy and train the next generation of family policy professionals.
The Policy Institute is directed by Karen Bogenschneider. We are currently funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the William T. Grant Foundation. Past supporters include the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Policy Institute Board of Directors
- Ruth Massinga, Interim Board Chairperson, Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Casey Family Programs and Chair, Board of the Marguerite Casey Foundation
- Tom Corbett, Senior Scientist, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Governor Anthony Earl, 41st Governor, State of Wisconsin
- Mary Fairchild, Senior Fellow, State Services Division, National Conference of State Legislatures
- Representative Curtis Gielow, State of Wisconsin 23rd Legislative District, 2003-07; Executive Dean, School of Pharmacy, Concordia University Wisconsin; and Mayor, Mequon, Wisconsin
- Donald Hernandez, Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
- Bill Kraus, Governing Board Co-Chair, Common Cause
- Governor Madeleine Kunin, 77th Governor, State of Vermont; United States Ambassador to Switzerland, 1996-99; and James Marsh Professor-at-Large, University of Vermont
- Bob Lang, Director, Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau
- Kristin Anderson Moore, Senior Scholar and Program Area Co-Director, Youth Development, Child Trends
- Douglas Nelson, Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Representative Eric Pettigrew, State of Washington 37th Legislative District, 2002-Present
- Laurence Steinberg, Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology, Temple University
Emeritus Board Members
- Diane Cushman, Executive Director, National Council on Family Relations
- Jane Grinde, Director, Community Learning and Partnerships, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
- Jennifer Noyes, Researcher, Institute for Research on Poverty
- Theodora Ooms, Consultant, Former Director of the Family Impact Seminars
- Robert Pietrykowski, Consultant
- Timothy Smeeding, Director, Institute for Research on Poverty