State Paid Family Leave Policy Academy


Call for Applications


Paid Family Leave Policy Academy

Application Open

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Application Deadline

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 – CLOSED

Acceptance Notification

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Policy Academy #1 (Paid Family Leave)

November 15-17, 2023
Nashville, TN
plus six months of targeted state supports


Emily Workman:

Explore Policy Considerations and Implementation Strategies for State Paid Family Leave Programs Alongside Your Colleagues

We are excited to host our first Policy Academy on paid family leave (PFL) in Nashville, TN from November 15-17, 2023. The Policy Academy will provide a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary state teams to engage in a collaborative effort to usher an evidence-based, equitable PFL policy into law.

To date, 14 states (including DC) have enacted a statewide PFL policy, and many more have attempted to establish one over the past several years. Benefit levels and administration of the policies vary significantly across states, however, leading some states’ programs to be available only to a subset of the population or offer low reimbursement rates that make it difficult for eligible employees to afford to take advantage of the program. This Policy Academy will help states understand the policy decisions that can ensure effective and equitable access and outcomes.

Participants will hear from, and consult with, state and national experts and have the opportunity to engage in extensive state team planning time. Through insightful presentations, discussions, and peer-to-peer learning, participants will explore:

  • the why (evidence showing positive impacts for young children and their families),
  • the who (the role of critical stakeholders in your alliance), and
  • the how (case studies from different states).

The Policy Academy will also grant state teams extensive planning time to set key legislative and policy priorities, strategize about advocacy efforts, and consider implementation opportunities and pitfalls. Each state team will leave the academy with a clear and actionable plan.

The all expenses covered three-day event will include:

  • Dinner and a networking event on the first afternoon
  • Sessions each full day covering policy considerations related to: 1) eligibility requirements, 2) wage replacements, 3) administration and funding mechanisms, 4) equity considerations, and 4) advocacy
  • State adoption and implementation success stories and lessons learned
  • Extensive state team planning time

Following the in-person event, state teams will be assigned an issue expert to support their progress, will engage in three planning calls in the six months following, and will be invited to participate in a webinar to highlight state efforts.


The Policy Impact Center will use this application to select states based on several factors, including:

  • absence of an established statewide PFL policy,
  • demonstrated interest in establishing a statewide PFL policy, and
  • an identified champion prepared to lead the advocacy efforts.

Each state team will consist of up to six members.

Team Composition

We will give priority to teams representing diversity in roles, each needed to successfully develop a state PFL policy, carry out an effective advocacy campaign, and usher the policy through the legislative process. We encourage you to include organizations that represent the voices and experiences of parents. Applicants should identify the appropriate participants for their state team.

The Paid Family Leave Policy Academy will support up to five state teams composed of diverse stakeholders, each with an important role to play in the adoption and implementation of a PFL policy in their states.

Examples of team members include:

  • State lawmakers
  • Executive office staff
  • Statewide advocates
  • Government agency staff
  • Business leaders
  • Organizations representing parents


Selected state teams are required to commit, attend, and actively engage in the 3-day academy and engage in up to three follow-up planning calls.

Team Composition

Please direct all inquiries, including questions on the application process or policy academies, to Emily Workman, Director of Outreach and Engagement, at

About the Policy Impact Center

The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center, housed within Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, is a nonpartisan research center dedicated to supporting evidence-based policymaking in the field of early childhood development. We track emerging evidence, conduct original research, and monitor state-level policy activity to inform effective and equitable policies that strengthen families and promote optimal outcomes for children. A state paid family leave policy is one of the 12 effective solutions identified in the Policy Impact Center’s annual Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap.

The Policy Impact Center is led by Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Professor of Early Childhood Education and Policy at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. The Center employs more than 30 researchers, policy experts, and leaders of our communications and outreach efforts. Staff work remotely in 14 states across the US.


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