Policies

Policies are often overlooked as means of changing young peoples’ development. However, policies can help to reduce poverty, increase social cohesion, create a safer environment, enhance schools, and provide support for parents. We have summarized the scientific evidence for policies impacting diverse measures of child, family, and neighborhood wellbeing. From this literature, we have constructed menus of feasible, evidence-based policy options for dissemination to communities. Each policy brief includes a rationale for the policy, a summary of what the policy can help to achieve, and two community examples, including links to policy language.

Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness

Given the high quality and quantity of evidence currently available for these policies, the PNRC recommends use of these policies at this time.

DomainPolicy NameDevelopmental Phases
Education School Vocational Training Programs Adolescence
Education Sexual Health Education and Contraceptive Interventions Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Education Compliance with Nutrition Standards for School Lunch Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Smaller Classroom Sizes Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Child Mental Health Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Education Mentoring Programs Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Education After-School Programs with Academic Support Services Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Modified School Calendars Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Volunteer Tutoring Programs Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Education School-Based Efforts to Reduce Bullying Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Workplace Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Child Mental Health Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Community Water Fluoridation Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Alcohol Outlet Density Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Urban Design and Land Use Policies Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Access to Affordable (or Free) Quality Childcare Services Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood
Community Mentoring Programs Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Volunteer Tutoring Programs Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Enforcement of Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) Laws Adolescence
Community Hours of Sale for Alcohol Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Alcoholic Beverages Excise Taxes Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Limiting Alcohol Advertising Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Community Prisoner Re-Entry Emerging Adulthood
Community Bicycle Helmet Use Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Community Affordable Housing: Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Community Smoking Prevention Programs Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Community Community-based Participatory Research Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Alternatives to Incarceration Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Community Safety Belt Laws and Enforcement Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Early Childhood Health Promotion Early Childhood
Community Tobacco Excise Taxes Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Access to Places for Physical Activity Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Effective Drug Law Enforcement Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Community Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) Programs Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Neighborhood Watch Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Tobacco-Free Policies (Smoke-free workplaces, restaurants, and other public places) Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Enforcement of Tobacco Sales Laws Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Family Prisoner Re-Entry Emerging Adulthood
Family Child Mental Health Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Family Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Family Home Visiting Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence
Other Neighborhood-level Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood

Policies with Consistent Evidence from High-Quality Observational Studies

Given the high quality and quantity of evidence currently available for these policies, the PNRC recommends use of these policies at this time.

DomainPolicy NameDevelopmental Phases
Education Teacher Performance-Related Pay Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education School Funding Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Need-based Grants for Higher Education Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Education School-day Start Time Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Farm to School Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Workplace Living Wage Ordinances Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Workplace Anti-Discrimination and Diversity Policies Emerging Adulthood
Workplace Active Labor Market Policies (ALMPs) Emerging Adulthood
Workplace Limiting Pesticide Exposure in Workers Emerging Adulthood
Community Area-wide traffic calming for preventing traffic related injuries Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Community-based Arts Programs Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Access to Quality Healthcare for Children Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood
Community Condom Subsidies and Social Marketing Programs Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Point of Purchase Nutrition Strategies Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Pool fencing Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood
Family Pool fencing Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood

Insufficient Evidence Available

DomainPolicy NameDevelopmental Phases
Education Voucher Programs and School Choice Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education School Grade Configuration (K-8 vs. Middle School Configuration) Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Condom Availability in Schools Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education School Breakfast Programs Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence
Education Standards-based Accountability or Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Charter Schools Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education School Music Programs Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education Early College Programs Adolescence
Community Social Host Liability and Keg Registration Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community In-Community Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Centers
Community In-Community Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Centers Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Mixed-Income Housing Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Community Policing Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Enterprise Zones Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Community-Driven Development Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Transportation Policies Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Supermarket Access in Low-income Communities Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Firearms Policies Emerging Adulthood
Community Independent Living Programs for Young People Leaving the Care System Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Community Food Pricing Strategies: Taxes and Subsidies Infancy and Toddlerhood, Prenatal, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Family Mental Health Services for Parents Infancy and Toddlerhood, Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood
Family Home Nursing Services for Children Early Childhood, Childhood

Consistent Evidence that Policy is Not Effective

DomainPolicy NameDevelopmental Phases
Education Zero Tolerance Policy Early Childhood, Childhood, Early Adolescence, Adolescence
Education College Tuition Rates Emerging Adulthood
Community Transfer of Juvenile Offenders to Adult Justice System Early Adolescence, Adolescence