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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


Study on Reducing Social Isolation Among American LGBTQ Adolescents and Young Adults

 An ad hoc committee will conduct a study on reducing the social isolation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth, what is known about effective strategies for supporting them, and lessons to be learned from these experiences. The committee will review available data and research on LGBTQ youth, with attention to differences by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographic diversity, and other demographic factors. It will also draw on the extant literature - both peer-reviewed and gray literature - from diverse fields including social work, positive youth development, child welfare, sociology, psychology, public health, and community psychology in both the U.S. and abroad. The committee's report will offer conclusions and recommendations regarding:

1. What is known about the impacts of social isolation on the social-emotional and physical well-being of LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 12-24?

2. How do the impacts of social isolation on the social-emotional and physical well-being of LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 12-24 vary by community and social factors, including interpersonal relationships and homelessness?

3. What internationally developed and implemented and U.S. school-based and community-based intervention and prevention programs and policies have been shown to be effective in reducing the social isolation that is experienced by LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 12-24?

4. How does the efficacy of these programs and policies vary by intersectional factors including race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity?

5. What relevant programs or approaches currently exist in other developed industrialized countries, such as Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden? How could these programs be adapted to the United States context?

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

Study on Timely and Legal Permanence For Children in the Foster Care System

An ad hoc committee will review the available research evidence on child, youth, and young adult development and practices, including the role of the social determinants of heath, within the foster care system; and will produce a report that synthesizes the information gathered and makes recommendations for an evidence-based framework to facilitate timely and legal permanency and well-being for children in foster care. (Domains of well-being include: physical, mental, and psychosocial health; education attainment; pathway to economic self-sufficiency for older adolescents/young adults; caring relationships; and community connectedness.) The committee will:

1. Review and assess current child welfare policies and practices (including fiscal policies) relevant to foster care in light of the available evidence on successful approaches to timely and legal permanency and well-being.

2. Review the training and support for professionals who interact with children in the foster care system and consider improvements (including greater use of tools, data, evidence, and technology) that could reduce instability, increase timely and legal permanency, and reduce re-entry and disruption for children who have achieved permanency, by improving the knowledge, skills, and ability of these professionals to provide high quality services.

3. Examine the services and supports for children in foster care, or children who have been in foster care, and their caregivers (including counseling and treatment for mental health, substance use, and psychological trauma) to facilitate stability, legal permanency, and healthy child development and well-being, tailored to developmental stage.

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

Study on the Use of Information Technology in K-12 Classrooms

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study and prepare a report on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in K-12 classrooms. The committee will review the available literature on the role ICT plays in K-12 classrooms, consider both positive and negative effects, and explore how ICT can most effectively be used to support students’ learning. The committee will make recommendations on future directions for research, policy, and practices to improve the educational outcomes for children and youth. The committee will focus on the following questions:

1) What is known about the most effective ways to use ICT to support learning in K-12 classrooms? Does effective use of ICT look different in different subject areas or for different age groups?

2) What is known about the negative effects of ICT in classroom settings and how to mitigate those effects?

2) What responsibilities and roles do teachers have when information technology is fully integrated into instruction?

3) What infrastructure and resource demands are placed on schools and districts when they ramp up use of information technology in K-12 classrooms?
a. What kind of short-term and long-term planning is required to allow schools nation-wide to effectively integrate information technology across K-12 classrooms?
b. How can these plans be developed so as to avoid inequities in access to information technology or in access to effective use of information technology in K-12 classroom instruction?

4) Given the evidence base and the experiences of schools and districts that have expanded use of information technology, what recommendations can be made to states, districts and schools that are interested in incorporating information technology in classrooms most effectively?

5) What are important areas for future research?

For further information on this study in development, please contact Natacha Blain, Board Director, at
Workshop on Informing Future Policy Concerning Nonmedical Exemptions for Childhood 

An ad hoc workshop steering committee will plan and organize a 1-day open workshop to explore current policies mandating childhood immunizations for students and allowance of nonmedical exemptions. Workshop speakers and participants will discuss the impact of state laws allowing or banning nonmedical exemptions, including variations based on policy implementation across states (i.e., the ease of obtaining an exemption), on immunization levels, and incidence of vaccine-preventable disease. The goal of the workshop will be to create a platform that will stimulate and facilitate evidence-based policy decisions to promote health and welfare outcomes for the entire nation. Selected workshop committee members and speakers will represent a wide variety of views on the issues and there will be opportunities for public comment during the workshop. To promote societal understanding regarding the evidence underlying school immunization requirements, as well as to inform the adoption of policies that protect the community’s health, this workshop will explore the following questions:

1. What do we know about the prevention of community outbreaks, transmission of disease to vulnerable individuals in the school setting, and vaccination coverage that can inform state policies on nonmedical exemptions? What do we know about the effect of allowing religious or personal exemptions for childhood vaccines on public health? Are there legal, ethical or public health reasons to treat religious exemptions differently from philosophical exemptions?

2. How can vaccine policy accommodate dynamic concepts such as what constitutes acceptable risks, costs, and outcomes? What are the assumptions in current vaccine policies regarding the public health goals of risk reduction vs. risk elimination?

3. What policy framework (or frameworks) offers guidance for balancing the tension between individual freedom and public health that is intrinsic to school immunization requirements? How should the currently low incidence of vaccine preventable disease shape exemption policy? What disease risk to the school or community coupled with what assurance of vaccine safety and efficacy warrants eliminating nonmedical exemptions from school vaccine requirements?

4. How can the scientific community, health professionals, and policy makers better engage the public in vaccine policy-making?

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

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