An introduction to First Focus on Children.

Who We Are:

First Focus on Children is a bipartisan advocacy organization working to make children the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. With a dozen policy experts in the many areas that affect our nation’s 73 million children, First Focus on Children and our sister organization First Focus Campaign for Children offer thorough, bipartisan, achievable solutions to ensure the well-being of children in the U.S. and around the world.

What We Do:

First Focus on Children produces cutting-edge analyses, policy briefs, and events for members of Congress to educate lawmakers about the issues facing children. Our sister organization First Focus Campaign for Children evaluates specific pieces of legislation for their impact on children and also assists lawmakers and their staff in drafting bills that address children’s needs.

First Focus on Children also leads the two largest cross-sector coalitions in the child advocacy community, the Children’s Budget Coalition and the Child Poverty Action Group.

Our Impact:

Since beginning our work more than 15 years ago, First Focus on Children/First Focus Campaign for Children has been instrumental in helping lawmakers create positive change for children. Two bellwether surveys of national and state advocacy organizations and Capitol Hill staff named us the leading bipartisan voice for children. Among our many successes, First Focus:

  • Led the decade-long effort to enact the improved Child Tax  Credit, which lifted 3 million children out of poverty in 2021. First Focus worked with Congress to fund the 2019 National Academy of Sciences report that staked out the changes and currently assists lawmakers fighting to make the measure permanent.
  • Helped rescue the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), working with members of Congress after a four-month expiration in 2017 to extend the life-saving program by a record 10 years. In fact, our team has led every extension or reauthorization since CHIP’s inception and has shielded the program from two expirations and multiple efforts to abolish it. First Focus has also helped Congress defend Medicaid, successfully working for children’s 12-month continuous enrollment and opposing efforts to impose per capita caps or block grants, changes that would disproportionately harm children. On the Affordable Care Act, First Focus worked for more than a decade to successfully eliminate the “family glitch,” a flaw that made health insurance coverage inaccessible for more than 2 million children.
  • Spearheaded efforts to pass child welfare reform through enactment of the Family First Prevention Services Act. Our policy experts also helped win Medicaid coverage for foster youth until age 26, just as their peers can be covered to age 26 by parental health insurance.
  • Children’s Budget: Every year, First Focus on Children analyzes the federal investment in our nation’s children and the trends in funding allocated to addressing their needs.
  • Bill Tracker: First Focus Campaign for Children maintains a database of proposed legislation that presents a significant impact on children. Our Bill Tracker summarizes bills and offers lawmakers guidance on whether they will help or harm children.
  • Children’s Agenda: First Focus Campaign for Children offers each new Congress a comprehensive list of the challenges facing our nation’s children and practical, bipartisan ways to address them.
  • Champions for Children: First Focus Campaign for Children guides lawmakers on how to use their office to benefit children, both in the United States and abroad. Each year, the Campaign names 20 Senators and 80 Members of the House of Representatives “Champions for Children,” a sought-after award recognized and valued by constituents.
  • Children’s Week: Every year during the second week of June, First Focus on Children hosts Children’s Week, bringing together dozens of organizations who brief members of Congress, sponsor webinars and media events, and engage Congressional staff on important fiscal and policy issues facing children.

The work of First Focus has been featured in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Associated Press, NBC News, Wall Street Journal, Vox, Politico, and many other national and inside-the-Beltway outlets, as well as the many hometown media outlets covering members of Congress.


For questions about First Focus and how we can help you meet your legislative goals, contact Haley Winter