November 2015

November 2015

Capitol Hill Forum – Getting the Dosage Right: Safeguarding Foster Youth Mental Health (Friday, November 20, 2015)

Webinar – Increasing College & Career Readiness through Afterschool & Competency-Based Learning (Monday, December 14, 2015

Capitol Hill Forum – Getting the Dosage Right: Safeguarding Foster Youth Mental Health (Friday, November 20, 2015, 11:30PM-1:30PM)

This forum, based on Laurel Leslie and Thomas Mackie’s research, will focus on how mid-level policymakers in state child welfare agencies acquire, interpret, and use research evidence to develop policies regarding psychotropic medications for emotional and behavioral problems of youth in foster care. Responding to the dramatic increase in the use of these medications in recent years, the federal government mandated that all child welfare agencies develop plans to review and manage behavioral health services for youth.

Presenters at this forum will explore various state and local responses to the federal charge – particularly in New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families. Presenters include Laurel K. Leslie, MD, MPH Vice President of Research American Board of Pediatrics; Thomas Mackie, PhD, MPH; Assistant Professor, Department of Health Systems and Policy at Rutgers School of Public Health; Christopher Bellonci, M.D. Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Debra Lancaster, Director, Office of Strategic Development, New Jersey Department of Children and Families. There’s still plenty of time to register, so please help us spread the word.

Webinar – Increasing College & Career Readiness through Afterschool & Competency-Based Learning (Monday, December 14, 2015, 3:00PM-4:15PM)

To further our goal of college and career readiness for all students, AYPF has been exploring the opportunities that exist at the intersection of afterschool and competency-based learning. Research has demonstrated that high-quality afterschool providers help contribute to a student’s college and career readiness through college and career exploration, social and emotional learning, soft skills development including communication and team-building, various enrichment activities, and more. In recent years, we have also seen the growth of competency-based learning, an approach within classrooms and schools that stresses specific skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, and paired with less reliance on seat-time, allows students to advance upon mastering competencies at their own pace. As students learn and develop valuable skills and competencies both in and out of school, it seems natural to explore strategies and policies to support the intersection, interaction, and interrelationship of these two fields that have demonstrated success in preparing students for college and careers.

This webinar will serve as the release of AYPF’s white paper on current trends and opportunities at the intersection of afterschool and competency-based learning. Our presenters will share promising practices in the realms of badging, internships, work-based learning experiences, and other emerging strategies that bridge afterschool and competency-based learning and discuss opportunities moving forward in policy and practice. 


Forum Brief – Examining Strategies to Improve the Use of Research Evidence in Child Welfare

Recent initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels have charged child welfare agencies with the challenge of better integrating research-based programs and practices into their daily routines. This forum explored how state and local leaders grapple with this challenge and shares recent research, funded by the W. T. Grant Foundation, on how research evidence is used to inform policy and practice decisions in the child welfare field. The forum highlighted the implementation of evidence-based statewide foster care programs in California and Ohio, and the use of evidence-based child welfare programs in New York City. It also described the Los Angeles-based Children’s Bureau’s use of research in their Magnolia Community Initiative effort, with its focus on creating community wellness that is scalable.   Presenters explored how research evidence is used at all levels of the child welfare system as well as its implications for policymaking at the local, state, and federal levels. They examined the kind of capacity it takes to ensure more substantive use of research evidence by child welfare agencies, and discussed what such evidence means for services and for the young people being helped. They also spurred thinking about how we can improve and increase research with practice partnerships, social networking, and intermediaries to more effectively share lessons learned and best practices.

Webinar Resource – Increasing Investment In Afterschool: The Role Of Statewide Afterschool Networks

This webinar highlighted the work of the Statewide Afterschool Networks (SANs) in increasing investment in afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs. Statewide afterschool networks provide a structure for bringing together key decision makers interested in improving outcomes for children and youth through school-based and school-linked afterschool programs. In a conversation with three SAN leaders, the webinar explored the following questions: 1) What challenges and opportunities exist for achieving equitable funding for afterschool across different communities in your state? 2) What are some strategies and barriers to building public and political will for increased investment in afterschool funding? 3) How have you been able to create bridges between afterschool and the K-12 education system?

Forum For Thought Blog The Forum for Thought blog is operated by the American Youth Policy Forum, and highlights diverse points of view and information from the intersection of policy, practice and research.


·       Program Associate Carinne Deeds on creating innovative pathways for supporting Opportunity Youth.

·       Most people agree that high-quality afterschool programs are critical, but how can we make them available for all youth? Executive Director Betsy Brand explains.

·       Senior Director Loretta Goodwin poses questions on the issue of equity and Deeper Learning.

·       How can we build life-long learners? Digital Communications Associate George Knowles puts a spotlight on National Family Literacy Month and his own personal experiences.

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Click here to find all briefs and reports


Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff:

William T. Grant Foundation Evidence at the Crossroads Blog Series: What Works, Tiered Evidence, and the future of Evidence-based Policy

This blog series focuses on the federal government’s efforts to build and use research evidence to improve social programs. In posts over the coming weeks, researchers, policymakers, and advocates will examine what they’ve learned from federal initiatives that allocate public dollars for evidence-based social programs. In addition to taking stock of these efforts, contributors will outline the key issues that policymakers will have to tackle as they debate the future of evidence-based policy. Posts deal with the future of evidence use, how federal education policy makers could learn a thing or two from “MoneyBall,” the value of research-practice partnerships, and lessons learned from the Obama Behavioral Insights Team.


Data Quality Campaign Sealing the Cracks: Using Graduation Data, Policy, and Practice to Keep all Kids on Track

This report examines the current practices of nine states and lays out the continuing work that can be done by state and national leaders to improve the quality of graduation rate data and build trust that the cohort graduation rate is a reliable measure of student outcomes and provides a path forward to support individual students.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Building the Talent Pipeline: An Implementation Guide

This implementation guide builds on the foundation set forth in the 2014 white paper, Managing the Talent Pipeline: A New Approach to Closing the Skills Gap, which identified how employers could leverage lessons learned from supply chain management and apply them to their education and workforce partnerships. The strategies identified in the current guide expands on this work and shows how key practices in supply chain management can inform employer action in organizing and managing the talent pipeline.


Alliance For Excellent Education Progress Is No Accident: Why ESEA Can’t Backtrack on High School Graduation Rates

This report finds that the number of high school dropouts decreased from 1 million in 2008 to approximately 750,000 in 2012, and it credits the improvement in high school graduation rates to state and local on-the-ground efforts, as well as federal requirements issued in 2008 and 2011 targeted at the dropout crisis.



The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels.

AYPF events and publications are made possible by a consortium of philanthropic foundations: Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationWilliam T. Grant Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and others.