Government Relations, Health Policy (Senior Associate or Associate level)

Children Now is a nonpartisan whole-child research, policy development and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health, education, and well-being in California. We employ a game changing, anti-racist connector strategy to mirror and ultimately exceed the power of other established interest groups. A critical component of that strategy is The Children’s Movement of California, a unique network of more than 4,650 (and growing!) parent, youth, business, labor, civil rights, government, faith, and community-based organizations, as well as thousands of individuals, all wanting to make children a top priority in public policy. Learn more at including about Children Now’s core organizational values.


We are seeking a highly skilled and highly motivated Associate or Senior Associate to support Children Now’s ongoing policy advancement and advocacy efforts to ensure that all children in California have access to all the supports and opportunities they need to thrive, including well-funded, high quality early learning opportunities; fully staffed and supportive K-12 schools; child welfare supports; and high-quality health care, including behavioral health and preventive care. This position will support the health policy team by helping advance and advocate for Children Now’s positions on children’s health legislation, budget, and administrative actions, focused on behavioral health and other health issues. This position will advance the importance of a whole-child approach with the Legislature, Governor’s Office, and Administrative agencies. Given California’s richly diverse and complex child and youth population, the analysis and recommendations on policy positions must reflect a deep understanding of historic and present systemic barriers created by institutional racism and apply a racial equity lens to the proposed policies that impact children, youth, and their families. In addition, understanding the needs of children living in immigrant families and children living in poverty are essential to developing coherent, relevant policies for the state of California.

This is a full-time position and will be based in our Sacramento office, reporting to the Director of Behavioral Health, and working with several senior staff on projects.  Travel and in-person meetings between Children Now’s other offices and to regional meetings throughout the state and occasionally outside of California will be required.

Ideal applicants

Applicants have deep knowledge of legislative and budget process and procedures and demonstrated ability to analyze legislation and budget proposals to assess how the organization should position itself, propose alternatives, and effectively communicate the proposals to internal and external audiences. Applicants must have exceptional writing skills, in addition to excellent oral and interpersonal communication skills, excellent project management ability, and the ability to collaborate effectively and flexibly in a fast-paced environment. Candidates must feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions, identifying gaps in knowledge, receiving feedback, and engaging in a highly collaborative team environment. Candidates may have strengths and experience in certain areas outlined in this description and less skill or experience in others, and the expectation is that the candidate is open and willing to learn and address gaps effectively. Candidates should be positive and solution-oriented, with a high level of integrity, strong work ethic, a deep commitment to racial equity, and a firm belief in Children Now’s mission to improve the health, education, and well-being of all children.

Primary Responsibilities

  • In collaboration with senior staff, set goals, develop strategies, identify priorities, and advocate to advance Children Now’s comprehensive whole-child agenda;
  • Monitor and analyze legislation, budget proposals, and implementation through the legislative and budget process and working with government relations and policy staff to assess Children Now’s position;
  • Communicate Children Now’s positions with the legislature, Governor’s Office, and Administrative agencies through letters, meetings, phone calls, and in public hearings;
  • Share legislative and budget updates with members of the policy and other teams as appropriate, providing relevant analysis and information and responding to requests to ensure the teams are informed and have up to date information;
  • Support policy and strategy development for a variety of children’s health issue areas that could include, but not necessarily limited to, mental health and/or substance use disorders, Medi-Cal reform, preventive services, health plan accountability, oral health, and youth and family engagement in policymaking;
  • Represent Children Now and build relationships with, and respond to informational requests from, government officials and local and state departments, funding partners, state and local partner organizations, and other key constituencies;
  • Help support specific health policy projects in collaboration with other policy staff, including contributing to project planning and strategy, and ensuring execution of deliverables;
  • Make presentations at meetings, briefings, and conferences to advance policy and systems change efforts;
  • Conduct email, phone, and in-person engagement efforts for specific informational or advocacy campaigns at the state, regional, and local levels, including fast-paced, quick turn-around campaigns related to specific policy opportunities, particularly changes or actions in the political arena; and
  • Work with policy, communications, and development teams to support writing of policy analyses, briefs, reports, and presentations; grant proposals and reports; op-eds and a range of other communications materials designed to elevate our commitment to racial equity and the importance of children’s health programs and supports.


  • Three to five years of state government legislative experience in California;
  • Knowledge of California’s political system and relationships with state-level policymakers
  • Knowledge of the mental health and/or health care system, policies, and key stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and advance policy proposals that address the systemic challenges created by racism, poverty, discrimination, and other issues as relevant;
  • Exceptional written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills; Spanish language fluency a plus;
  • Ability to develop strong and effective working relationships with diverse and multi-cultural constituencies ranging from Children Now staff to government officials, to the media, to civic and community-based organizations;
  • Deep commitment to Children Now’s mission;
  • Knowledge of California’s political system and relationships with state-level policymakers;
  • Ability to build coalitions in order to further the goals of the health team;
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to racial equity, including building inclusive, diverse, and equitable content, messaging and overall communications
  • Effective multi-tasking abilities and strategic and efficient time management skills;
  • Excellent project management abilities, including effective and responsive communication, and the ability to lead early planning and strategy development, incorporate a wide range of contributions of colleagues, partners and stakeholders, and manage multiple components and different stages of implementation;
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail;
  • Highly flexible with a positive attitude and a willingness to take on a range of assignments and to support multiple projects according to priorities; and
  • Strong skills in technology (including MS Office), research, analysis, and the use of social media.


Salary range is competitive and commensurate with skills set and experience. Generous benefits.

To Apply

Please complete the application form. All applicants must attach the following as part of their online application: 1) cover letter, 2) resume, 3) two-to-three-page writing sample, and 4) three to five references (including former supervisors). Please submit attachments in PDF or Microsoft Word format only.

We do not accept phone inquiries regarding the position; please do not call. Position open until filled.

Children Now COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
The health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. Thus, Children Now has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination policy covering all employees. To be compliant with this policy, all new staff members shall be required to provide proof of their vaccine status at the start of their employment, unless a reasonable accommodation is requested and approved.

Children Now is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to staff diversity, equity and inclusion. Children Now values diversity as an asset essential to accomplishing our work and views diversity as including differences in race, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, veteran status, job skills, education, and geographic location and any other category protected by law. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply.