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Operations and Practices of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

MEMBERSHIP

Membership in the Forum is open to Federal agencies that share a common interest in improving and disseminating data related to children and families. Member agencies produce statistics, develop programs, or support research concerning the well-being of children and families. A list of current members is provided at the end of this document.

Each Forum member agency shall be represented by a Forum Principal (typically the agency director or a designee) and a named Forum Alternate. To become a member of the Forum an agency should send a request to join the Forum to the Forum Director outlining how the agency meets the criteria outlined above and how the mission of the agency relates to the mission of the Forum. The Forum Director (a position described below) will share the request with Forum membership who will evaluate the request.

Membership in the Forum requires active participation in Forum activities including attendance at meetings, participation in work groups, timely review of documents, and timely response to requests for input on Forum activities. The Forum Director shall contact any Forum agency whose members are not participating in Forum or committee meetings for one year or more to determine level of interest. Any agency without interest and/or resources shall withdraw from the Forum.

ORGANIZATION

The Forum can establish and alter administrative positions and committee structure. Forum principals shall appoint agency representatives to serve on standing and ad hoc committees, as needed, to support the Forum's mission and to address any specific goals or objectives. The standing committees of the Forum are:

Executive Committee. An Executive Committee consisting of four Forum principals meets as needed to address issues that require decisions before the next scheduled meeting of the Forum. The Executive Committee can resolve administrative issues. It can also call an interim in-person or phone meeting of the Forum principals when needed. All Forum principals are invited to attend Executive Committee meetings and an agenda will be sent to principals prior to the meeting. Membership on the Executive Committee should rotate among Forum members. Members serve two years with two members rotating off each year.

Planning Committee. Forum Principals nominate members to the Planning Committee. The Planning Committee oversees the operations of the Forum and coordinates the work of the other committees. The Planning Committee prepares a draft Work Plan for alternate-year activities and deliverables for approval by the Forum. In addition, the Planning Committee is responsible for developing innovative ways to address existing gaps in our current systems of collecting, reporting, and disseminating information on the status of children and families to the policy community and the general public.

Reporting Committee. Forum Principals nominate members to the Reporting Committee. The Reporting Committee is responsible for general activities related to the production of the biennial America's Children report, including reviewing new indicators and special features, updating existing indicators, and coordinating the inclusion of data from member's respective agencies. The Reporting Committee is also responsible for other forum reports such as America's Children in Brief.

To address specific projects, ad hoc committees can be established with the approval of Forum Principals.

The Forum shall have a Director to manage the daily workings of the Forum, including oversight of the support and production of Forum reports based on direction from Forum Principals. The National Center for Health Statistics provides a part-time FTE position for the Forum Director and staff to administer Forum contributions and expenditures. Forum principals are invited to take part in the selection process when a new Forum Director must be selected. Information on Forum contributions and expenditures will be provided to Forum principals at least once a year. The location of the Forum Director position and the mechanism for administering Forum funding can be modified by agreement of the Forum principals.

DECISION-MAKING

A quorum shall be reached with fifty-one percent of Forum Principals or alternates attending a meeting. The Forum strives to make decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be achieved after extensive discussion, decisions will be made by majority vote taken at scheduled Forum meetings or at interim Forum meetings called by the Executive Committee. If the vote does not result in a clear majority (75 percent of voting members), the Forum will continue the attempt to find a workable compromise.

FUNDING AND OTHER SUPPORT

The Forum welcomes many forms of support. The production of Forum reports, products, administrative support, and management support requires financial contributions by Forum member agencies. The Forum uses funds for the services of the Forum Director and related contracts. While the Forum does not identify and request specific amounts from Forum member agencies, the nature of Forum activities is a function of available funds.

In addition to financial contributions, the time and expertise of Forum agencies' staff support the work of the Forum. In particular, the contributions of many staff across many agencies make possible the Forum's publications and activities.

MEETINGS

Forum members shall meet as a full Forum at least twice per year. Meetings should be held in the spring and the fall to address the preparation and dissemination of Forum products, publications, and a Work Plan for alternate-year activities and deliverables. An informational meeting to promote internal and external data sharing among Forum member agencies and other Federal partners can also be held.

If discussions cannot be completed or resolved during the regularly scheduled fall and spring meetings, then on-call or Executive Committee meetings can be scheduled.

PRODUCTS

As mandated by the charter, the Forum produces the America's Children report on a biennial basis. Currently the Forum produces America's Children in Brief or other reports such as American's Young Adults: Special Issue, 2014 in alternating years. As part of its operations, the Forum can develop and produce a range of products to meet its mission.

LIST OF CURRENT MEMBERS

As of September 2019, the following agencies are members of the Forum:

Department of Agriculture
Economic Research Service

Department of Commerce
U.S. Census Bureau

Department of Defense
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy

Department of Education
National Center for Education Statistics

Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Maternal and Child Health Bureau
National Center for Health Statistics
National Institute of Mental Health
Office of Adolescent Health
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Policy Development and Research

Department of Justice
Bureau of Justice Statistics
National Institute of Justice
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Women's Bureau

Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Children's health Protection

U.S. Office of Management and Budget
Statistical and Science Policy Office

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission