NC Family Impact Seminars

NCFIS_logoNorth Carolina Family Impact Seminars (NCFIS) include seminars, briefing reports and follow-up activities designed for state policymakers, including legislators and legislative staff, the governor and executive branch staff, and state agency representatives. With publicly available materials following each seminar, NCFIS’ reach extends to a wide range of organizations and individuals who are working on the topic addressed in North Carolina and beyond. The seminars provide objective, nonpartisan, solution-based research on a topic of current concern to state policymakers. Legislators and legislative staff guide topic selection based on their concerns and those of their colleagues and constituents, as well as their knowledge of what is likely to be addressed during current and future legislative sessions.

The Center became the home site for NCFIS in 2004 and presented the first seminar in 2005. NCFIS is part of the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars (PINFIS). The Institute was founded in 1999 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension to continue the mission of the federal Family Impact Seminar, which operated from 1976 to 1998 in Washington, D.C. As part of this national FIS network of more than 20 states, NCFIS can link policymakers with current research and evidence-based policy options on a myriad of pressing issues.

How Are Family Impact Seminars Unique?Mark Testa, NC FIS 2015

Family Impact Seminars provide an opportunity for policymakers and other stakeholders to learn from experts about the impact of policies on families and children.  FIS encourages leaders to consider these impacts in the same way that they routinely consider economic and environmental impacts.

The seminars:

  • Connect legislators with experts.
  • Deliver objective information on a range of evidence-based policy options without advocating for particular strategies or solutions.
  • Provide an overview of the scientific research on current topics.
  • Provide opportunities for policymakers to discuss issues and seek common ground in a nonpartisan, neutral environment.

How Do Policymakers Use FIS Information?

Sen. Tamara Barringer, NC Family Impact SeminarLegislators across the country use information from these seminars to:

  • draft new legislation,
  • evaluate pending legislation,
  • introduce research into deliberations,
  • prepare for speeches and presentations, and
  • share new ideas with colleagues.

What Resources Are Available?

  • Briefing Reports:  FIS publications are available electronically.  The reports address topics such as child care, education, juvenile crime, long-term care, parenting, smoking and substance use.
    • NCFIS reports and other materials are available on this website; see “past seminars” in the right column.
    • PINFIS: Publications from other FIS sites are available at
  • Experts:  NCFIS and PINFIS can connect legislators to policy research organizations and university research centers that address a range of social policy issues and that focus on research-to-policy translation.
  • Guidance: NCFIS and PINFIS can provide guidance on how to assess the impact of policies on families.2015 NC FIS panel