Rachel Merker (Former Staff) Director

Rachel received her Bachelor's degree in Public Policy from Duke university in 2012.  After spending two years working with Agape Sverige in Sweden, she earned her Master's in Public Policy at Georgetown University, focusing her coursework on domestic child poverty and food insecurity.  During her time at graduate school she worked as a micro-economics teach assistant and interned with Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry and Prosperity Now. She also worked with a team of students to perform a year-long program evaluation for a local after-school program, DC SCORES. She is passionate about using evidence driven policy to improve the lives of vulnerable children and will be working on the Children’s Budget Coalition, and family tax policy, and nutrition at First Focus.

Resources by Rachel Merker


Updated Model Comment: On Proposed Changes to Categorical Eligibility in SNAP

| October 24, 2019 |

A proposed rule would essentially eliminate Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE), a state option that allows states to streamline SNAP eligibility for families who


Updated Comment on Proposed Revisions to Categorical Eligibility Provisions in SNAP

| October 24, 2019 |

On October 24th, 2019, First Focus on Children submitted the following updated comment opposing a proposed rule by the US Department of Agriculture that


Census says: Tax credits, SNAP and other benefit programs work. So let’s make them stronger.

| September 20, 2019 |

The U.S. Census Bureau released annual data on child poverty in the United States on September 10 that shows benefit programs are particularly effective


New USDA Data shows that Children Cannot Afford to Lose SNAP Benefits

| September 5, 2019 |

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released new data Sept. 4 showing a continued decline in food insecurity (uncertain access to enough healthy food.)


Explainer: What to Know About the Final “Public Charge” Rule

| August 16, 2019 |

The Trump administration has finalized a rule that will expand the definition of a public charge when determining eligibility for individuals applying for admission


Fact Sheet: Proposed SNAP Rule Will Overwhelmingly Harm Children and Their Family Members

| August 8, 2019 |

The Trump Administration recently proposed a rule that, if implemented, would make it harder for low-income families to put food on the table. The


Child Nutrition Reauthorization Represents a Chance to End Summer Hunger

| June 26, 2019 |

Summer vacation is supposed to be the highlight of a child’s year. But for far too many children in the U.S., it is the


Stories of “Lunch-Shaming” Highlight Need for Free School Meals

| May 24, 2019 |

A slew of recent news stories are calling attention to the widespread problem of “lunch-shaming,” the practice of calling attention to, punishing, and stigmatizing


Millions of children at risk if government changes poverty measure

| May 13, 2019 |

Millions of children could lose access to healthcare, nutritious food, early childhood education, heating assistance and other critical resources if the government enacts new


Fact Sheet: Babies in the Budget

| May 8, 2019 |

Federal spending on Infants and Toddlers in Fiscal Year 2019 Infants and Toddlers represent 3.7 percent of the population, but what is their share