, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 1-14

Investing in Children, Families, and Communities: Challenges foran Interdivisional Public Policy Collaboration

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Abstract

An interdivisional collaboration to foster the development of strengths-based policies for children, youth, families, and communities is described. The initiative includes (1) producing a book that integrates scholarly research and policy; (2) developing materials for policymakers to use, including a policy-oriented summary of the book; (3) enhancing the capacities of the divisions to communicate with and influence policymakers; and (4) taking action steps to influence policymakers. During the process of developing these products, a number of tensions emerged between the academically-based and policy-based authors of the book, many of which centered around how the information should be presented and, in particular, how to formulate and present policy recommendations. Tensions fell into four general categories: understanding the appropriate scope for recommendations, using the right language, understanding the kind of information that is needed, and understanding the bottom line. The author concludes by urging psychologists to become adept at understanding and participating in the public policymaking process.