Cara Baldari Senior Policy Director, Poverty & Family Economics, Housing and Homelessness

Cara Baldari is the Senior Policy Director for Poverty & Family Economics, Housing and Homelessness at First Focus. She is responsible for leading cross-cutting initiatives to reduce child poverty in the U.S., with an emphasis on reducing racial disparities and increasing federal investment for income supports that are proven to support healthy child development and educational attainment. In this role, she leads the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group, of which First Focus is a founding member.

Her work is also centered on developing policies to address child, family and youth homelessness in the U.S. that take a two-generation approach to meet the unique, developmental needs of homeless children and unaccompanied youth and coordinate homeless assistance with education, early childhood, child welfare and other systems serving these children and youth.

In her six years at First Focus, she has worked on 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. 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 experience includes providing direct legal representation 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 JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Resources by Cara Baldari


New Groundbreaking Report Confirms High Prevalence of Youth Homelessness in the US

| November 15, 2017 |

Advocates working to end youth homelessness have known for a long time that there are many more youth experiencing homelessness on their own than


First Focus Statement on the Child Tax Credit

| October 6, 2017 |

Last week, officials from the White House, Senate and House of Representatives (known as the “Big Six”) released a framework for overhauling the tax


Study Shows Americans Agree: Poor Child Well-Being is a Top Issue

| October 3, 2017 |

Recently the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released national survey results on perspectives of Americans on child and family well-being in the U.S., with


A Snapshot of Children Living in Poverty: 2016

| September 20, 2017 |

Data from 2016 released this month indicated positive news for children, with the national child poverty rate dropping from 19.7 percent in 2015 to


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