Cara Baldari Senior Policy Director, Legal Counsel

Cara Baldari is the Senior Policy Director for Family Economics and Legal Counsel at First Focus, a national bipartisan children’s advocacy center dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. In this role, she aims to increase federal investment in economic supports that can make a dramatic difference in low-income family budgets and lift children and families out of poverty.

In her time at First Focus, she has worked a number of issues affecting children living in poverty, including child and family homelessness, child welfare policy, childhood asthma, child nutrition, and children’s health policy. Her role also included assisting in the project management of the State Policy Advocacy & Reform Center (SPARC), a national resource center aimed at improving outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system, and the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition (CALC), a national, multi-sector effort to improve policymaking around childhood asthma.

In addition, she co-authored America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S., which was co-released with Save the Children and provides a holistic picture of unmet needs in five areas of a child’s life: economic security, early childhood education, K-12 education, permanence and stability, and health and safety.

Before coming to First Focus, her previous experiences focused on the areas of affordable housing and homelessness, which included her work advising and representing low-income clients in landlord tenant disputes in Pittsburgh, PA. Through this work, she witnessed firsthand the policy changes that are needed to prevent homelessness and better assist low-income families.

Cara received a BA in History and Political Science with a minor in Legal Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and a JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Resources by Cara Baldari


With 13 Million US Kids in Poverty, We Can Do Better

| September 12, 2017 |

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual data on children living in poverty in the U.S. and it confirms three things that we


Census Data Highlights Devastating Effect of Poverty on Children

| September 12, 2017 |

WASHINGTON–New data published today from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 18 percent of American children—13.3 million—lived below the poverty line in 2016, a slight decrease from


In the News: Push to simplify taxes is on but don’t touch some deductions

| September 1, 2017 |

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), of which First Focus is a member, was cited in an article about plans to overhaul the tax


Increasing the Minimum Wage is Good for Child Well-Being

| August 31, 2017 |

A new study from researchers at Indiana University finds that raising the minimum wage by $1 per hour would lead to a substantial decrease


In the News: New research links increased minimum wage to reduced child maltreatment

| August 29, 2017 |

Bruce Lesley, Cara Baldari and Rricha Mathur provided comments for an article for the Chronicle of Social Change published on August 29, 2017 about the


In the News: Lawmakers want federal measure to end ‘lunch shaming’

| August 14, 2017 |

First Focus Senior Director of Poverty and Family Economics Cara Baldari was interviewed for WKBN on August 11, 2017 speaking about the importance of schools


The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act is the Wrong Direction to Reduce Child Poverty

| August 11, 2017 |

The Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act, introduced in June by House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Jim Jordan,


Creating a Roadmap to Help Children & Families Facing Eviction

| July 19, 2017 |

Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children released a set of recommendations to address the barriers to stability faced by the millions of children


Comments for National Academy of Sciences Information Gathering Session on Child Poverty

| June 19, 2017 |

In preparation for the National Academy of Sciences information gathering session on their child poverty study, “Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of


Income Support: Impact of the President’s FY 18 Budget Request

| June 1, 2017 |

On May 23rd, President Trump presented his budget request for fiscal year 2018 (FY18) to Congress, outlining his spending priorities for the coming year.