Angelica is a policy associate at the Child and Family Policy Center.
What is your role at the Center? Describe you professional background.
I joined the Center in 2014 as a policy associate, which was the first time I had really ever worked on policy-related topics. Prior to that, I earned my MSW from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked in child protective services in California.
Any notable or interesting facts about yourself or family?
My husband and I have an 11-year-old daughter and a dog, both whom we love a lot. As a family we enjoy traveling internationally. We’re also trying to explore the lesser-known parts of Iowa.
What is a current project you’re working on?
My current work around health equity is really exciting. The project’s scope is large, but an important question the work seeks to answer is ‘How do we create systems that work well for all families? How do we effectively engage families through programs?’ Ultimately, health equity is all about ensuring that kids and families have access to the services they need by implementing responsive—and accessible—programs.
Describe the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job.
Our current political landscape, which targets children and those in poverty, is both challenging and discouraging. But it’s also made our work that much more important. I love that I can use my skills and passion to make a difference for children and families in Iowa.
What keeps you inspired and focused?
The magnitude and importance of the work the Center does, given the issues families are facing; it keeps me engaged.
Important things about your line of work that you’ve learned so far?
Here’s an important thing I’ve learned: systems and programs are effective only to the degree in which they engage families. Family engagement is the key to success. Also, I’m continually reminded of the importance of leadership, at all levels of influence. Policies and policymakers hold a lot of power and influence.
Looking ahead, where do you see policy research and advocacy headed in Iowa? Nationally?
Broadly speaking, we’re trying to focus on issues that affect minority groups in Iowa and across all 50 states. With the Family First Prevention Services Act passing earlier this year, a lot of our child welfare work will be centered on researching and advocating for best-practices that support all Iowa families. This will involve working with partners and allies to ensure proper implementation.