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


As vaccine rollout ramps up, kids ask, “what about us?”

| April 22, 2021 |

Last week as I excitedly told my 6- and 3-year-old daughters that my husband and I had been able to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments


The Fight to End Child Poverty: A Conversation with Rep. Rosa DeLauro

| April 20, 2021 |

Join us on April 21st at 3:15 pm ET for a conversation with Rep. Rosa DeLauro — the chair of the House Appropriations Committee,


The nation needs a plan to vaccinate students

| April 16, 2021 |

President Biden has introduced a massive infrastructure plan that would, among other things, invest $100 billion in building and restoring American public schools. In


Report says more than 4,000 NY children lost a caregiver due to COVID-19

| December 11, 2020 |

Between March and July of this year, 4,200 children in New York State lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19. Four-thousand, two-hundred individual children.


Key Stats on the Effect of COVID-19 on Kids

| November 19, 2020 |

The COVID-19 pandemic is doing more than exposing the racial, ethnic, and economic disparities existing in our society; it is compounding them, and so


Child care is an essential piece to the COVID-19 puzzle

| August 20, 2020 |

Speaking from a child care center in Springfield, Mass., during Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Elizabeth Warren made her point crystal


Congress Must Act Quickly to Pass Additional Relief for Struggling Children and Families

| August 10, 2020 |

Given recent spikes in COVID-19 caseloads, an economic crisis that continues to deepen, and an upcoming school year faced with daunting challenges, it is


Comment on the continuation of the Household Pulse Survey

| July 31, 2020 |

First Focus on Children submitted the following comment to the Office of Management and Budget. Excerpt: The coronavirus pandemic has hit the United States


Why kids need drug money

| June 16, 2020 |

Kids are at risk of being short-changed, again. Over the next two years, courts are expected to award billions of dollars in drug company


Fact Sheet: Aid to Children and Families in the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800)

| May 22, 2020 |

As part of ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic crisis, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic