Karen Howard Vice President

Karen recently joined First Focus as Vice President of Early Childhood Policy. In that capacity, Karen is responsible for leading the organization’s work in cross-cutting policy initiatives that impact the early health, development and well-being of children, with specific emphasis on children at risk of significant health, educational and economic disparities.

Karen has over 20 years of experience in the legal, policy and advocacy arenas. She previously worked as the Director of Policy for the Nurse-Family Partnership, one of the leading evidence-based home visiting programs. There, Karen was instrumental in helping to create and enact the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), which is a $1.5 billion grant program supporting the implementation and expansion of evidence-based and promising home visiting programs nationally to improve the early health and development of pregnant women, children and families living in poverty. Karen recently helped lead efforts to secure FY 2015 extension funding for the MIECHV Program.

Karen previously worked as legislative counsel in the office of Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) where she focused on health and education policy, including Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and No Child Left Behind, among other initiatives. Prior to that, Karen served as Deputy Attorney General in the Colorado Office of Attorney General where she supervised attorneys practicing employment and regulatory law and worked on higher education policy issues, such as affirmative action in higher education. Karen previously practiced product liability and employment law at private law firms in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Colorado.

Resources by Karen Howard


In the News: S.C. Taps Private Donors To Expand In-Home Services For At-Risk Moms

| August 9, 2017 |

First Focus Vice President of Early Childhood Policy Karen Howard was quoted in Kaiser Health News on August 8, 2017 speaking about the benefits of


Strong Families Make a Strong Nation

| March 16, 2017 |

Today you have the opportunity to invest in the future of our nation by joining forces with a national effort to strengthen America’s families


Home Visiting Programs Work: Here’s the Proof

| August 22, 2016 |

The Chronicle of Social Change By Karen Howard 8/22/16 As a career advocate for children, I applaud Los Angeles County’s innovative efforts to reduce child


Act Now to Support the Family First Act

| July 1, 2016 |

Join advocates to support the passage of the Family First Services Prevention Act of 2016. Add your name here.   Full letter: June 30,


The Senate is Poised to Vote on Bipartisan Flint Package But More is Needed

| March 4, 2016 |

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, which has and continues to expose 8,000 children and their families to lead poisoned water, the


New legislation makes child care a national priority

| February 10, 2016 |

Securing safe and affordable child care remains a significant challenge for millions of working parents and their children. Sixty-five percent of children under age


Beyond blame: Congress must take action to heal Flint’s children and families

| February 4, 2016 |

In the past few months, we’ve learned that thousands of children and their families have been poisoned by drinking the tap water in Flint,


Babies and Poverty: Top 5 Things the Presidential Candidates Need to Know About Poverty Among our Youngest Children

| January 20, 2016 |

The Presidential candidates from both parties have spoken about improving economic opportunities for people living in poverty, but none focus on babies, toddlers and


Getting real about reducing child poverty

| January 11, 2016 |

This past weekend, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Tim Scott hosted Republican Presidential candidates in South Carolina at the Jack Kemp Foundation Forum on


It’s time for Congress to create a kid-friendly tax code by strengthening working family tax credits

| November 30, 2015 |

As this year comes to an end, Congress appears poised to extend over 50 expiring tax provisions, collectively known as the “tax extenders.” There