Acts of Commission: Lessons from an Informal Study - Executive Summary

by Janice Nittoli

Sep 1, 2003
The paper results from research conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of an exploration to determine whether that foundation should create a national commission to heighten the visibility of workforce issues for the millions of people who provide services to families, youth, and children. This paper shares the lessons of the foundation's exploratory research, beginning with an analysis of how the "lifespan" of a policy issue fits with the work of a policy commission. The author suggests that commissions are most likely to be effective when they address issues in either an early phase of the policy lifespan—when an issue is either wholly invisible to the public or not viewed as a matter of public policy—or a late phase, when an issue has become a high-profile problem and there are numerous, competing ideas about how to resolve it. (At an in-between stage, it is more difficult for a policy commission to develop a clear charge—such as defining the problem or offering solutions.)
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