Health Policy Associate/Senior Associate (Sacramento)

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. Children Now also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a grassroots network of more than 3,000 business, education, parent, civil rights, faith, and community‐based organizations, as well as thousands of individuals, working together to make children a top priority in public policy. Learn more about Children Now here, including its core organizational values.

Position Description

We are seeking a highly skilled, highly motivated, and experienced Associate or Senior Associate to support Children Now’s ongoing policy development and advocacy efforts to ensure that all children in California have equitable access to the health care services and supports they need for healthy development, well-being, and resilience. As a part of the Health Policy team, the Associate/Senior Associate will significantly contribute to all team projects by coordinating and supporting the team’s Sacramento-based advocacy.  In addition, the Associate/Senior Associate will help develop and co-design future policy projects and advocacy campaigns. Current and potential future projects include health coverage, health care access and quality in Medi-Cal, early childhood development, nutrition, school-based health, services for children and youth with special health care needs, childhood trauma, and mental health.  This is a full-time position based in our Sacramento office and reporting to the Senior Managing Director of Health Policy and Research.  Some travel between Children Now’s other offices will be required. 

Ideal applicants have significant health and human services research, systems and policy knowledge, with advocacy experience in state policy, including knowledge of and relationships in the state legislature, governor’s office, state agencies, and managed care organizations.  Ideal applicants will also be highly-strategic systems thinkers and possess knowledge of the interrelation of state and local policies and programs.  Applicants must have outstanding relationship building skills, exceptional communication skills (written, verbal, and interpersonal), excellent project management ability, and the ability to collaborate effectively and flexibly in a fast-paced environment.  Candidates should be positive and solution-oriented, with a high level of integrity, strong work ethic, a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a firm belief in Children Now’s mission to improve the health, education, and well-being of all children.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Under the primary supervision of the Senior Managing Director of Health Policy and Research, set goals, develop strategies, conduct policy and advocacy work to advance Children Now’s health and equity policy agenda;
  • Manage specific health policy projects, both in collaboration with other policy staff and as project leader, including contributing to project planning and strategy, and ensuring execution of deliverables;
  • Support strategy development of new children’s health issue areas;
  • Represent Children Now and build relationships with, and provide support for, government officials and local and state departments, funding partners, state and local partner organizations and other key constituencies;
  • Present before policy-making bodies and at meetings and conferences to advance policy and systems change efforts and to support engagement efforts of The Children’s Movement of California;
  • Working with policy, communications and development teams, substantially contribute to or lead the development and writing of grant proposals and reports; policy briefs, reports and presentations; and a range of other communications materials designed to elevate the importance of children’s health policies, programs, and services/supports;
  • 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;
  • Provide content support to other teams such as early childhood policy, child welfare policy, education policy, research, communications and The Children’s Movement of California; and
  • Serve as lead for all health related legislation and Sacramento-based advocacy needs for all health projects, including legislative tracking, legislative analysis, meeting with legislative and administrative staff, testifying before legislative committees, and working with other health advocates, as well as working closely with the Government Relations Team.


  • Extensive health policy experience in California, with a preference for legislative experience, including budget and administrative advocacy experience and knowledge;
  • Experience working in systems that directly impact health policy, ideally at both the local and state policy level, including experience in health care, nutrition, mental health, early childhood development, human services, and/or child welfare;
  • Deep knowledge of health systems, financing and policies; strong relationships in the health advocacy field and/or familiarity with health plan operations and policies highly valued;
  • Knowledge of California’s political system;
  • Demonstrate ability to advocate for policy impact for California’s diverse communities and to identify policy proposals that address the systemic challenges created by racism, poverty, discrimination and other issues as relevant;
  • Relationships with state-level policymakers highly valued;
  • 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;
  • Exceptional written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills; Spanish language fluency a plus;
  • Excellent research, editing and writing skills, including non-profit development and grant-writing experience;
  • Effective multi-tasking abilities and strategic and efficient time management skills;
  • Excellent project management abilities, including effective 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;
  • Strong skills in the areas of technology (including MS Office), research, analysis and the use of social media; and
  • Graduate degree in public policy, public health, public administration or related field preferred but not required.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Generous benefits.

Application Process

Applications must include a 1) cover letter, 2) resume, 3) two to three page writing sample, and 4) three to five references.

Please submit your application materials to with attachments in PDF or Microsoft Word format only. Please include your name in the file name for all documents (e.g. g.smith – resume). We do not accept phone inquiries regarding the position.

Position is open until filled.

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.