Family Policy Education

Why a Family Perspective in Policymaking?

In order for communities to be able to support and strengthen families, local policymakers and other leaders want to understand what research tells us about the importance of assessing the impact a policy or program may have on families in much the same way these businesses, organizations, and public institutions assess the financial or environmental impact of their policies.


Examples of Extension’s Family Policy Education

A local coalition of school and community leaders, Dialogue for Student Success, in Watertown needed the latest research on effective use of media and technology in learning.  UW-Extension Jefferson County’s Family Living Program responded with a presentation based on a recent Future of Children journal edition.  The same coalition needed the latest research on the causes and policy options to address food insecurity among families in the Watertown community.  UW-Extension Jefferson County’s Family Living Programs responded with another presentation on that topic as well.

Local elected and appointed leaders wanted to know the impact on child development when children are born to young, unmarried parents with limited resources and effective policies to support these parents and encourage healthy child development.  UW-Extension Jefferson County’s Family Living Program responded with a presentation based on a recent policy brief from Brookings Institute and Princeton University.

UW-Extension Jefferson County’s Family Living Program is a leader in local family policy education.  Between 1995 and 2008, local educators led the planning and implementation of 13 Family Impact Seminars.  Local Family Impact Seminars are a research-based model of policy education adapted from state and national models.  Seminar topics ranged from juvenile crime prevention to family caregiving. These seminars resulted in a variety of outcomes from program development to policy implementation at the local level. Click Family Impact Seminar Fact Sheet for more information about these programs.


Family Demographics

Understanding demographic information and trends assists local policymakers in understanding the socio-economic condition of families in our communities and provides policymakers with information to help them make more informed decisions.  UW-Extension Jefferson County’s Family Living Programs routinely provides family demographic education to local elected, appointed and volunteer leaders for this reason.  Here’s an example of a recent resource provided to local organizational and public agency leaders.


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