Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities

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Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities
Opportunity ID
Primary CFDA Number
Funding Opportunity Number
Funding Instrument Type
Expected Number of Awards Synopsis
Length of Project Periods
60-month project period with five 12-month budget periods
Project Period Expected Duration in Months
Eligibility Category
State governments,County governments,City or township governments,Special district governments,Independent school districts,Public and State controlled institutions of higher education,Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized),Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments),Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education,Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education,Private institutions of higher education,For profit organizations other than small businesses,Others (see text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility" for clarification)
Additional Information on Eligibility
States; public or private agencies, including for-profit agencies; public or private organizations, including for-profit organizations; IHEs; and Indian tribes and tribal organizations.
Foreign entities are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement. Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.
Estimated Award Date
Funding Opportunity Description

Nationally, more than 6 percent (4.1 million) of parents who have children under the age of 18 have disabilities; another 650,000 grandparents with disabilities care for their grandchildren (Through the Looking Glass, 2016a). The rate of parents with disabilities is even higher among some U.S. subpopulations. For example, 13.9 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native parents and 8.8 percent of African American parents have disabilities (Through the Looking Glass, 2016a).

Similar to their broad community experiences (Lauer & Houtenville, 2019; National Council on Disability, 2019), people with disabilities experience significant social, economic, structural, and systems barriers in their role as parents (National Council on Disability, 2012; Sonik, Parish, Mitra, & Nicholson, 2018). For example, parents with disabilities are disproportionately involved in the child welfare system (Albert & Powell, 2020; LaLiberte, Piescher, and Mickelson, 2019; Slayter & Jensen, 2019). They also have high levels of chronic health conditions (Li, Parish, Mitra, & Nicholson, 2017), and disproportionately live under the poverty-line (Sonic et al., 2018).

Specific services, community-based supports, technologies, or other interventions can help support parents with disabilities to overcome these barriers and enhance family functioning (DeZelar & Lightfoot, 2019; Jacob, Kirshbaum, & Preston, 2015). Recent research has addressed some of the barriers experienced by parents with disabilities and developed supports, services, and interventions to meet their unique needs. This research has led to increased understanding and knowledge about parents with disabilities (Coren, Ramsbotham, & Gschwandtner, 2018; LaLiberte, Piescher, Mickelson, & Lee, 2017; Lightfoot & DeZelarb 2020). It has also led to new intervention models and promising practices (e.g., Coren, Ramsbotham, & Gschwandtner, 2018; Lightfoot & DeZelarb, 2020), innovative technologies in adaptive parenting (Disabled Parent Project, n.d.), and the emergence of organizations that provide support to parents or potential parents with disabilities (Adopt U.S. Kids, n.d.; Child Welfare Information Gateway, n.d., Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation, 2016; Hodes, Meppelder, de Moor, Kef, & Schuengel, 2017).

Further, many states have introduced or passed legislation and changed welfare processes and services aimed at eliminating discrimination against parents with disabilities (Powell & Rubenstein, 2020). For example, some states have incorporated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into legislation or child welfare laws, and some require the courts to consider use of adaptive equipment and support services in making determinations. Some states have removed disability as a grounds for termination of parental rights (National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, n.d.). Despite these advances, parents with disabilities continue to experience discrimination and hardships and lack access to appropriate interventions, services, and supports (Lightfoot & DeZelar, 2020; Sonik et al., 2018).

NIDILRR seeks to build upon existing knowledge and to close research gaps by funding this National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families. Through this Center NIDILRR will fund innovative and well-designed research projects to generate knowledge and evidence-based policies, practices, supports, services, technologies, and products that support people with disabilities in their parenting roles and enhance the functioning of their families.

Adopt U.S. kids (n.d.). Resources for parents with disabilities. https://www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/overview/who-can-a….

Albert, S.M. & Powell, R.M. (2020). Supporting Disabled Parents and their Families: Perspectives and Recommendations from Parents, Attorneys, and Child Welfare Professionals. Journal of Public Child Welfare. DOI: 10.1080/15548732.2020.1751771

Child Welfare Information Gateway (n.d.). Services for Parents With Disabilities. https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/service-array/services-d….

Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation (2016). Parenting with a Disability: Know Your Rights. https://disabledparenting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Parenting-Book…

Coren, E., Ramsbotham, K., & Gschwandtner, M. (2018). Parent training interventions for parents with intellectual disability. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 7.

DeZelar, S., & Lightfoot, E. (2019). Parents With Disabilities: A Case Study Exploration of Support Needs and the Potential of a Supportive Intervention. Families in Society, 1044389419841172. First published June 6, 2019.

Disabled Parent Project (n.d.). Links to Adaptive Parenting Products. https://disabledparenting.com/marketplace/links-to-adaptive-parenting-p….

Hodes, M. W., Meppelder, M., de Moor, M., Kef, S., & Schuengel, C. (2017). Alleviating parenting stress in parents with intellectual disabilities: A randomized controlled trial of a video-feedback intervention to promote positive parenting. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 30(3), 423–432.

Jacob, J., Kirshbaum, M., Preston, P. (2015). Barriers for parents with disabilities traveling with children on ADA complementary paratransit. Journal of Public Transportation, 18, 124-142.

LaLiberte, T., Piescher, K., Mickelson, N., & Lee, M. H. (2017). Child protection services and parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 30(3), 521–532.

LaLiberte, T., Piescher, K. & Mickelson, N. (2019). Understanding and addressing disproportionate representation of parents with disabilities in the child welfare system. Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

Lauer, E.A. & Houtenville, A.J., 2019. Annual Disability Statistics Compendium: 2018. Durham, NH: University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability.

Li, Parish, Mitra, & Nicholson. (2017). Health of parents with and without disabilities. Disability & Health Journal, 10(2), 303–307.

Lightfoot, E. & DeZelarb, S.M. (2020). Parent centered planning: A new model for working with parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Children and Youth Services Review 114(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105047.

National Council on Disability. (2012). Rocking the cradle: Ensuring the rights of parents with disabilities and their children. National Council on Disability. http://www.ncd.gov/publications /2012/Sep27 2012/.

National Council on Disability (2019). National Disability Policy: A Progress Report: Has the Promise Been Kept? Federal Enforcement of Disability Rights Laws (Part 2). https://ncd.gov/progressreport-publications/2019/has-promise-been-kept2.

National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities (n.d.). State Legislation - Parents with Disabilities – Summary. https://heller.brandeis.edu/parents-with-disabilities/pdfs/summary-stat… .

National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities (n.d.). Parents With and Without Disabilities: Demographics, Material Hardship, and Program Participation. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 14(4), 1-20.

Powell, R.M. & Rubinstein, J. (2020). Supporting Legislation to Protect the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and their Children: Toolkit for Legislators. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University.

Slayter, E. M., & Jensen, J. (2019). Parents with intellectual disabilities in the child protection system. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 297-304.

Sonik, R.A., Parish, S.L, Mitra, M., & Joanne Nicholson, J. (2018). Parents With and Without Disabilities: Demographics, Material Hardship, and Program Participation. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 14(4). 1-20.

Through the Looking Glass (2016). National and state statistics on parents with disabilities. http ://lookingglass.org/services/national-services/220-research /106-national-and-state-disabled-demographics.

Priority--National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities:
The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living establishes a priority for the funding of a National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families. This Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) will generate new knowledge about interventions that aim to support individuals with disabilities in their parenting roles and enhance the functioning of their families. For the purposes of this priority, “parents with disabilities” includes any individual with a disability who has primary caretaking responsibility for a child, including grandparents, adoptive parents, and legal guardians.

To contribute to this outcome, the DRRP must—

Conduct research activities to identify or develop, and then test or evaluate one or more interventions that aim to support people with disabilities in their parenting roles and enhance the functioning of their families. Interventions must focus on supporting parents with disabilities in their roles as parents, and include an emphasis on family function. Interventions may include the following: policies, programs, products, practices, technologies or services;
Focus its research on a specific stage of research, and clearly specify the stage in its application. If the DRRP is to conduct research that can be categorized under more than one stage, including research that progresses from one stage to another, those stages must be clearly specified. These stages: exploration and discovery, intervention development, intervention efficacy, and scale-up evaluation, are defined in this notice;
Conduct knowledge translation activities (i.e., training, technical assistance, utilization, dissemination) in order to facilitate stakeholder use of and benefit from the knowledge that results from the DRRP’s research activities. Stakeholders include, but are not limited to: parents with disabilities; service providers; federal, state and local agencies (e.g., mental health systems, developmental disability systems, Medicaid, child welfare, and civil court entities); and Native American tribes;
Include parents with disabilities and other relevant stakeholder groups in the activities described in paragraph 1 in order to maximize the relevance and usability of the policies, products, practices, services, interventions or other supports to be studied; and
Demonstrating, in its original application, that people from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds will be included in study samples in sufficient numbers to generate knowledge and products that are relevant to the racial and ethnic diversity of the population of parents with disabilities being studied. The DRRP must describe and justify, in its original application, the racial and ethnic distribution of parents with disabilities who will participate in the proposed research.

Definition: Stages of Research
(a) Exploration and discovery means the stage of research that generates hypotheses or theories by conducting new and refined analyses of data, producing observational findings, and creating other sources of research-based information. This research stage may include identifying or describing the barriers to and facilitators of improved outcomes of individuals with disabilities, as well as identifying or describing existing practices, programs, or policies that are associated with important aspects of the lives of individuals with disabilities. Results achieved under this stage of research may inform the development of interventions or lead to evaluations of interventions or policies. The results of the exploration and discovery stage of research may also be used to inform decisions or priorities.
(b) Intervention development means the stage of research that focuses on generating and testing interventions that have the potential to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Intervention development involves determining the active components of possible interventions, developing measures that would be required to illustrate outcomes, specifying target populations, conducting field tests, and assessing the feasibility of conducting a well-designed interventions study. Results from this stage of research may be used to inform the design of a study to test the efficacy of an intervention.
(c) Intervention efficacy means the stage of research during which a project evaluates and tests whether an intervention is feasible, practical, and has the potential to yield positive outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Efficacy research may assess the strength of the relationships between an intervention and outcomes and may identify factors or individual characteristics that affect the relationship between the intervention and outcomes. Efficacy research can inform decisions about whether there is sufficient evidence to support “scaling-up” an intervention to other sites and contexts. This stage of research can include assessing the training needed for wide-scale implementation of the intervention and approaches to evaluation of the intervention in real world applications.
(d) Scale-up evaluation means the stage of research during which a project analyzes whether an intervention is effective in producing improved outcomes for individuals with disabilities when implemented in a real-world setting. During this stage of research, a project tests the outcomes of an evidence-based intervention in different settings. It examines the challenges to successful replication of the intervention and the circumstances and activities that contribute to successful adoption of the intervention in real-world settings. This stage of research may also include well-designed studies of an intervention that has been widely adopted in practice, but that lacks a sufficient evidence-base to demonstrate its effectiveness.

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Last modified on 03/09/2021

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