Why is it Important to Assess Family Impact?
Most policymakers wouldn’t think of passing a bill without asking, "What’s the economic impact?" The Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars encourages policymakers to routinely ask what the impact of policies or programs might be for families. To learn more about why family impact analysis is important and what it can accomplish, several new (and old) resources are available on this page.
For instructors and students looking for case studies from the Ooms and Preister booklet, A Strategy for Strengthening Families, click here to access the applicable passage. The main content of this booklet has been updated within the Family Impact Rationale and Handbook described above.
|The Family Impact Rationale: An Evidence Base for the Family Impact Lens
Families have long been endorsed as a basic building block of a strong and vital society. Investments in family policies and programs can create the conditions for families to do their best in rearing the next generation, in economically supporting their members, and in caring for those who cannot always care for themselves. When the family foundation is strong today, children are more likely to develop the solid foundation they need for tomorrow—to become competent workers in a sound economy and caring, committed citizens in a strong democracy. Yet despite the many important contributions they make to society, families are rarely addressed in the normal routines of policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation.
This Family Impact Rationale defines the family impact lens, describing how it can be used, who would find it useful, and what it can accomplish. It presents the empirical and theoretical rationale for promoting the family impact lens in policies and practice. It looks back at the history of family impact analysis and looks forward to its relevance for contemporary families in a changing society. The Rationale is a companion to the Family Impact Handbook that provides detailed “how to” procedures and tools for operationalizing family support.
||The Family Impact Handbook: How to View Policy and Program Through the Family Impact Lens
This Family Impact Handbook operationalizes "how to" bring the family impact lens to policy and practice. One of its features is a Family Impact Toolkit that provides key definitions, key procedures, and key tools of use to legislative and agency staff, policy analysts, human service professionals, program or organization staff, policy and program evaluators, educators, and others. Based on a review of the latest research on families, five principles are identified that form the core of assessing policies and programs for their support of family well-being. Step-by-step procedures are given for three methods—raising the family impact discussion starters, using the family impact checklists, and conducting family impact analysis. Several case studies apply the family impact lens using different methodologies in varied settings. Several examples of family impact analyses are listed along with tools, tips, and cautions.
||The Family Impact Guide for Policymakers: Viewing Policies Through the Family Lens
When economic questions arise, economists are routinely consulted for economic data and forecasts. When family questions arise, policymakers can turn to family scientists for data and forecasts to make evidence-informed decisions. The Family Impact Guide for Policymakers was developed to help policymakers bring the family impact lens to policy decisions.
||Family Policy Matters: How Policymaking Affects Families and What Professional Can Do
Drawing on hundreds of studies in the last 20 years, the 2nd edition of Family Policy Matters brings a fresh perspective to family policy, underscoring why it is needed, and outlining how policymaking should be approached. Author Karen Bogenschneider proposes a theoretical framework for conceptualizing policy issues in a way that holds the potential for overcoming controversy and identifying common ground. The targeted audience includes researchers interested in seeing their research and ideas acted upon in the policy world, family professionals who work to connect research and policymaking and instructors interested in making family policy come alive for undergraduate and graduate students. This book is an ideal textbook for family policy courses.
Family Impact Resources
Learn why family impact is important to policy and practice today and in the past. Learn how to conduct family impact analyses using checklists, procedures, tips, and helpful tools. Check out examples of family impact analysis of programs and policies. Review newsletters and briefs that explain to policymakers the value of viewing issues through the family impact lens. Learn about state policies, federal laws, and international efforts to require or promote family impact analysis.
Family Impact Analyses
Newsletters and Briefing Report Chapters for Policymakers
State Policies Requiring Family Impact Analysis
Federal Laws Requiring Family Impact Analysis
International Efforts to Promote Family Impact Analysis
Current Family Impact Documents (2000 and beyond)
Historical Family Impact Documents (prior to 2000)
Family Impact Checklists
Additional Family Impact Tools