Full Text HD-93-02


NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 22, June 12, 1992

RFA:  HD-93-02

P.T.  34, AA

  Behavioral/Social Studies/Service 
  Child/Maternal Health 
  Family Health/Planning/Safety 
  Child Psychology/Development 

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Application Receipt Date:  August 24, 1992


The Human Learning and Behavior Branch (HLB) of the Center for Research
for Mothers and Children (CRMC) and the Demographic and Behavioral
Sciences Branch (DBS) of the Center for Population Research (CPR), both
of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NICHD), are inviting grant applications for the support of research on
after-school care and its effects on the development of children.

The purpose of the Request for Applications (RFA) is to encourage
innovative and highly qualified researchers in the areas of social and
behavioral sciences to study (a) the after-school arrangements for
school-age children who vary in terms of gender, race, and
socio-economic background and (b) the impact of these arrangements on
the development of children.  The research needs to take into account
are (a) the after-school environments, including self care, (b) the
demographic and psychological characteristics of the families who
choose the care arrangements, (c) the characteristics of the
communities from which children come, and (d) the characteristics of
the children who are placed in the different after-school care


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  The RFA,
After-School Care and its Effects on the Development of Children, is
encouraging research that has implications for the social and
psychological well-being of children and their families.  Potential
applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report:
Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or "Healthy People 2000" (Summary Report:
Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents,
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC  20402-9325 (telephone 202-


Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign for-profit and
non-profit organizations, public and private, such as universities,
colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of States and local
government, and eligible agencies of the Federal Government.
Applications from minority individuals and women are encouraged.


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) individual
research grant (R01).  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.
The total project period for applications submitted in response to the
RFA may not exceed five years.

This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited competing
continuation applications will compete with all investigator-initiated
applications and be reviewed according to the customary peer review


$600,000 are set aside for the first year of support for total costs of
the program.  It is anticipated that four grants will be made.

The level of support is dependent on the receipt of a sufficient number
of applications of high scientific merit.  Although this program is
provided for in the financial plans of the NICHD, awards pursuant to
this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds for this



After-school care for the school-aged child is a major concern for
working parents.  More than 65 percent of women with school-aged
children are employed out of the home, and this figure is expected to
increase to 75 percent by 1995.  Family day-care homes are the dominant
form of paid care for older children of employed mothers.  It is used
primarily for six- to eight-year-old children of mothers who work
full-time.  The number of before- and after-school programs is growing,
both in public schools and in other community organizations.
Nevertheless, it is estimated that the number of children who need such
care far exceeds the available places.

The changing composition of families and the high rate of divorce mean
that there are fewer adults in the home to share the burden of child
care.  That, coupled with the fact that there are not enough programs
for after-school care, is the reason that the number of children who
are unsupervised by adults for some part of the day is assumed to be
large.  The Bureau of the Census (1987) reports that approximately 2.1
million elementary school and junior high school students are
unsupervised or latchkey children.  While the estimates of the number
of latchkey children vary widely and are frequently inferentially
based, it is clear that these children come from all economic strata of
our society.

At present, research-based information on the after-school care of
school age children of employed mothers is sparse and inconclusive.  In
addition, the effects of after-school programs of varying quality has
not been adequately examined.  Consequently, there is little consensus
about what constitutes a good school-aged care program.  In the absence
of such information, the regulation of quality in such programs is
based on studies of preschool children.  This leads to ambiguous and
inappropriate requirements.  The systematic investigation of the
conditions of after-school care and the impact on the many children
involved is timely and has important scientific and policy


The purpose of the RFA is to encourage innovative and highly qualified
researchers in the area of social and behavioral sciences to apply
their knowledge and research skills to the complex research that is
required to understand the after-school arrangements and the impact on
the development of children.  The research needed is very complex
because it needs to take into account the characteristics of the
families who choose the care arrangements and in which the children are
reared, the characteristics of the children who are placed in the
different after-school care arrangements, and the characteristics of
the communities from which the children come.

The RFA encourages social and behavioral scientists to study unresolved
questions pertaining to after-school care.  There are several areas
that need to be researched.  For example:

o  Stability of care over the years and the effects on the development
of children.  Stability is conceptualized as the extent to which
children stay in the same care arrangements and the extent to which the
providers within an arrangement stay the same.

o  Cumulative effects of care as contrasted with concurrent effects.
It is important to find out the extent to which observed effects of
care depend (a) on characteristics of the care the child receives at
the time the child is being examined and/or (b) on the cumulative
impact of months or years of after-school care of known quality and

o  The role of the community, the family, and child characteristics as
mediators of the effects of after-school care on the development of
children.  Communities and families vary in the resources they have at
their disposal.  Families vary in their coping skills, and children
vary in their health, disposition, and ability to take advantage of
resources.  All these are expected to mediate the effects of
after-school care on the development of children.

o  The experiences of children in the different after-school care
arrangements, and how these impact on the development of children.
Children's outcome may be influenced by  (a) opportunities for
interactions with peers and adults,  (b) opportunities for autonomy and
choice, (c) potentially harmful or dangerous experiences, and (d) their
own satisfaction with after-school care.

Children's outcome can be evaluated in different domains of
functioning. For example, one could evaluate the children in terms of
school performance, performance on intelligence tests, self-esteem,
social adjustment as measured by relations within the family and among
peers, engagement in antisocial behavior, such as disruptive behavior
in school or exhibiting aggressive behavior.

It is expected that the proposed research will include descriptive
studies, and studies designed to test hypotheses about after-school
care and its effects on the development of children.


Investigators are encouraged to request funds to travel once each year
to meet with the other investigators who are funded through this RFA.
The meetings will be held at the NIH, Bethesda, MD.  The purpose of the
meetings is to have investigators working in the same general area
share information about research methods and findings.


The research subjects will be boys and girls between the ages of 6 and
12 and their families.  Investigators are encouraged to study male and
female children and families varying in their racial and
socio-emotional background.  NIH policy requires research grants to
include minorities and women, so that research findings can be of
benefit to all.  If women and minorities are excluded or inadequately
represented in the proposed research, a clear compelling rationale must
be provided.

The composition of the proposed study population must be described in
terms of gender and racial/ethnic group.  In addition, gender and
racial/ethnic issues must be addressed by the research design and
mentioned in form PHS 398 in Sections 1-4 of the Research Plan and
summarized in Section 5, Human Subjects.  Applicants are urged to
assess carefully the feasibility of including the broadest possible
representation of minority groups.  However, the NIH recognizes that it
may not be feasible or appropriate in all research projects to include
representation of the full array of United States racial/ethnic
minority populations.  Should the study focus on a single minority
population, a rationale should be provided.


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 9/91) is to be used
in responding to this RFA.  These forms are available at most
institutional business offices and from the Office of Grants Inquiries,
Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, 5333
Westbard Avenue, Room 449, Bethesda, MD  20892, telephone  (301)

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 application form must be affixed
to the bottom of the face page of the application. Failure to use this
label could result in delayed processing of the application, such that
it may not reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition,
the RFA title and number must be typed on line 2a of the face page of
the application form and the YES box must be marked.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the
Checklist, and three signed photocopies, in one package to:

Division of Research Grants
National Institutes of Health
Westwood Building, Room 240
Bethesda, MD  20892**

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application
must also be sent to:

Dr. Laurance Johnston
Division of Scientific Review
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1485

Applications must be received by August 26, 1992.  If an application is
received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without
review.  The Division of Research Grants (DRG) will not accept any
application in response to this announcement that is essentially the
same as one currently pending initial review, unless the applicant
withdraws the pending application.  The DRG will not accept any
application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.  This
does not preclude the submission of substantial revisions of
applications already reviewed, but such applications must include an
introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by NIH staff for
completeness and responsiveness.  Incomplete applications will be
returned to the applicant without further consideration.  If the
application is not responsive to the RFA, NICHD staff will return the
application to the applicant.  The applicant will then have the option
of submitting it to the DRG for review in competition with unsolicited
applications at the next review cycle.

Applications may be triaged by an NICHD peer review group on the basis
of relative competitiveness.  The NIH will withdraw from further
competition those applications judged to be non-competitive for award
and notify the applicant Principal Investigator and institutional
official.  Those applications judged to be competitive will undergo
further scientific merit review.  Those applications that are complete
and responsive will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria stated
below for scientific/technical merit by a special peer review committee
convened by the NICHD.  The second level of review will be provided by
the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council.

The review criteria are:

o  scientific and technical significance and originality of proposed

o  appropriateness and adequacy of the approach and methodology
proposed to carry out the research;

o  qualifications and research experience of the Principal
Investigator, collaborating investigators and staff, particularly, but
not exclusively, in the area of the proposed research;

o  experience of the Principal Investigator and collaborating
investigators in conducting research with school-age children and with
minority research participants, if such participants are included;

o  availability of resources necessary to perform the research,
including ability to recruit and maintain data collectors;

o  appropriateness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to
the proposed research.


The anticipated date of award is April 1, 1993.

Responsiveness to the RFA, scientific merit, and technical proficiency,
as described in the application, will be the predominant criteria for
determining funding.


Potential applicants are welcome to ask for clarification of issues and
questions concerning this RFA.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Hildegard P. Topper, M.S.
Special Assistant
Office of the Director
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Building 31, Room 2A04
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-0104

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Edgar D. Shawver
Office of Grants and Contracts
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1303


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
No. 93.865, Research for Mothers and Children.  Awards are made under
authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A
(Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and
285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations
42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to the
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or
Health System Agency review.


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