Rachel Merker 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


The President’s Budget Speaks Louder Than His Words on School Safety

| February 22, 2018 |

Last week’s devastating mass shooting at a Florida high school has led to renewed calls on Congress to act to end the scourge of


Fact Sheet: Impact of the President’s 2019 Budget Proposal on Child Nutrition Assistance

| February 20, 2018 |

The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 19) budget includes several harmful proposals that would drastically cut and restructure domestic food assistance programs that serve


Continuing Resolutions Leave Kids Hanging in the Balance

| January 16, 2018 |

Welcome to a new year with the same broken budget process. This week, Congress faces yet another deadline to fund the government for Fiscal


Kids Will Pay the Price for USDA’s Push for “Flexibility” in Food Assistance Programs

| December 7, 2017 |

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has recently amped up its push for “flexibility” in two food assistance


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


Strengthening and Protecting SNAP

| September 30, 2017 |

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP- Ed) are two critical programs to combatting food insecurity for


First Focus and Niskanen Center Joint Statement: Improve the Child Tax Credit to Help Low-Income Families

| September 27, 2017 |

WASHINGTON–As advocates for an expanded child tax credit, First Focus and the Niskanen Center welcome this morning’s “Big Six” Tax Statement, yet have reservations about the framework’s specifics. “We


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


West Virginia Event Highlights Need to Put Kids First in Federal Budget

| September 19, 2017 |

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published at the Children’s Budget Coalition website. What does it look like to make children and families a priority


In the News: Kids Fest event in WV mixes education, fun

| September 18, 2017 |

From the West Virginia Herald-Dispatch HUNTINGTON – While it may have appeared that Kids Fest was all about fun and games, organizers of Sunday’s