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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Children Youth and  Families
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

BCYF Projects in Development


Reducing Child Poverty: A Planning Meeting

The Board on Children, Youth and Families (BCYF) will convene a two-day planning meeting to develop the statement of task (SOT) for a congressionally mandated consensus study examining child poverty, specifically the costs of child poverty and current efforts at reducing child poverty. Per the congressional mandate, the study will also make recommendations to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the United Sates by half in 10 years. The anticipated product from the planning meeting will be a prospectus for a study.

For further information on this study in development, please contact Natacha Blain, Board Director, at

Financing Early Care and Education With a Highly Qualified Workforce

An ad hoc committee under the auspices of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will study how to fund early care and education for children from birth to kindergarten entry that is accessible, affordable to families, and of high quality, including a well-qualified and adequately supported workforce consistent with the vision outlined in the report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through 8.  This study is being developed as a follow up to the report "Transforming the Workforce for Children from Birth Through Age 8". That committee's task did not include the question of financing, and this follow up study is a result of strong interest in a study on this topic from two of the federal agencies that sponsored that report.

For further information on this study in development, please contact Natacha Blain, Board Director, at

Research Issues in the Assessment of Birth Settings: A Study

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council convened an ad hoc committee to plan and conduct a two-day public workshop that reviewed updates to the 1982 Institute of Medicine (IOM) National Research Council (NRC) report, Research Issues in the Assessment of Birth Settings. The committee was chaired by Maxine Hayes, M.D., M.P.H., State Health Officer for the State of Washington. The workshop featured presentations from invited speakers that highlighted research findings that have advanced the understanding of the effects of maternal care services across different types of birth settings on maternal labor, clinical and other birth procedures, and birth outcomes. The institutional settings include conventional hospital labor and delivery wards, alternative birth settings that may be hospital-affiliated or free-standing, and home births.

The workshop discussions illuminated controversies that surround the choice of birth setting and the need for further study on a variety of issues. While the majority of births in the United States are in hospitals, out-of-hospital births have increased by 36% since 2004 to 1.2% of U.S. births. Of these, approximately two-thirds are home births and one-third take place in birth centers or other settings. This increase has been primarily in non-Hispanic white women. Workshop presentations highlighted disparities in access and information on birth settings and services, thus limiting choice. Participants pointed to a need to better educate all women about options that are available so they are empowered to make informed decisions about their choice of birth setting. Some of the issues that were presented and provide a foundation for a consensus study to move the field forward include:

• A lack of a common definition of risk in pregnancy, with perceptions of risk and safety varying among women and providers
• Complex findings in the research on birth settings, with several presenters observing that birth center and home birth settings have been associated with fewer interventions and fewer complications and others reporting high transfer rates and an increased risk for neonatal mortality
• Variation across states in provider regulation and liability, costs, Medicaid coverage for maternal and neonatal care, and reimbursement rates
• The lack of understanding and collaboration among professions providing maternal care and childbirth services

A consensus study to address these and other issues will help advance the understanding of the research on birth settings for women. A consensus study would delve deeper into the issues that were identified as pressing policy concerns at the workshop. As a result, the consensus findings and recommendations would help to move the research agenda forward and answer the questions necessary to establish policies and procedures that utilize the most advanced knowledge and safe methods to provide maternal care and childbirth services.

For further information on this study in development, please contact Natacha Blain, Board Director, at

Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety: A Study 

Many Americans have an image of summer as a time of high activity when children and their families engage in swimming, hiking, and vacations. This image may include young people participating in summer camps and other forms of organized summer programming as well as enjoying more free time for recreation within the safety of their own neighborhoods. The idea that summer represents a time when young people have heightened access to healthy foods such a fruits and vegetables is also common. Unfortunately, this image is not a reality for many young people in America. Instead, summer appears to be "season of risk" with respect to children's learning, risk for obesity, and involvement in delinquent activities...Read the full document

For further information on this study in development, please contact Natacha Blain, Board Director, at


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