We believe that public policy and rigorous research ought to go hand-in-hand, and that good government ought to be based on hard evidence drawn from dispassionate analysis. Unfortunately, no such bond exists. In fact, the drift toward hyper-partisan, interest-driven politics, and the increasing lack of civil discourse threaten to undermine the democratic process. Increasingly, decisions rely on personal impressions or information from lobbyists and special interest groups that is often fragmented, biased, parochial, and less focused on family considerations. Families are widely considered the basic building block of society, but family considerations are not part of the normal course of policymaking.
If we are unable to connect research and policy, what might the future look like?
Is there an alternative? At the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars, we are dedicated to connecting research and policy using a proven and effective model. The Family Impact Seminars are a series of presentations, discussion sessions, and briefing reports that provide high-quality, objective information to state policymakers on timely policy issues. The Institute currently provides training and technical assistance to 27 state sites, all university-based, that are conducting or planning Seminars in their state capitols. Since 1999, over 155 Seminars have been held across the country on topics such as corrections policy, early childhood education and care, growing the state economy, health care, long-term care, school finance, welfare reform, and workforce development.
Policymakers tell us that the Seminars represent one of few institutional venues that serve as an “honest broker” to help overcome partisan paralysis. We work to find common ground by building respect for the role of evidence in policy decisions and by encouraging policymakers to examine issues through a family impact lens. In evaluations, policymakers report that the Seminars have increased their knowledge of research on family issues in ways that shaped their policy decisions and changed their attitudes about how valuable research and family considerations are in policymaking.
We hope that you will join us. The stakes are high! As first voiced by Theodore Roosevelt in 1893, “We hope that the level of our greatness rises to the level of our opportunity.” Please join us in responding to one of the most important challenges of our time—turning good research and analysis into policy.
The Institute can accept donations through secure online giving forms provided by the Purdue University. To make a contribution online click here.
To mail a donation to support the Family Impact Institute, make your check payable to Purdue University. On the memo line of the check indicate HDFS/FAMILY IMPACT INSTITUTE. Send to:
403 W. Wood Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2007
If you have interest in discussing support of the Institute, please contact Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Executive Director, at (765) 494-9878 or firstname.lastname@example.org