Averi Pakulis Vice President, Early Childhood and Public Health Policy

Averi Pakulis serves as the Vice President for Early Childhood and Public Health Policy at First Focus on Children. Averi has over 15 years of public policy experience on Capitol Hill, at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in the non-profit sector. For four years, Averi served as a Policy Advisor to Secretaries Sebelius and Burwell at HHS in the Office of the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Legislation. Just prior to joining First Focus on Children, Averi served as the interim Legislative Director for HHS at the National Governors Association. Her experience covers areas of public health and human services, including behavioral health, opioid addiction and recovery, early childhood care and education, women’s health, family and medical leave, and child abuse prevention. Averi has worked closely with a number of public health and human service agencies such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, the Administration for Children and Families, the Federal Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health on agency regulations, programs, and grants.

Prior to her work at HHS, Averi served as Staff Director and Professional Staff Member for Senator Christopher J. Dodd on the Children and Families Subcommittee of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee from 2008-2011, where she led the successful reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. She also successfully worked to expand family and medical leave for family members of service members through a provision in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

Prior to the Senate, Averi worked for nearly six years in the House of Representatives. She worked in the personal office of Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro leading the congresswoman’s health care portfolio.

Averi is originally from Connecticut and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Union College in Schenectady, New York. Averi resides on Capitol Hill with her husband and daughters.

Resources by Averi Pakulis


New principles for child care define vision for high-quality, affordable care

| October 10, 2019 |

Child care is one of the greatest multi-taskers that exists – it simultaneously provides both early care and education for our youngest citizens, enables


Comments in Response to Proposed Rulemaking: Rescinding Medicaid Access

| September 16, 2019 |

First Focus on Children submitted the following comments expressing our strong opposition to a proposed rule that would repeal the Medicaid Access Rule, harming


#ChildrensWeek2019 Podlet: An Interview with Helen Blank

| June 13, 2019 |

This year to highlight issues in advocacy for early education, our Averi Pakulis and Karen Howard sat down with Helen Blank, who has been