Senior Associate, Health

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 4,600 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.

About the Role

We are seeking a highly skilled and motivated 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. The Senior Associate’s primary roles will be to (1) provide deep policy expertise and research support, especially regarding Medi-Cal and (2) exercise leadership on written products such as advocacy materials, grant proposals/reports, and blog posts. This position will advance the importance of health care coverage, access, and quality to children’s lives by analyzing and helping to develop policies that improve health and mental health systems, increase access to early childhood health services, and authentically engage families, parents, and youth. Given California’s richly diverse and complex child and youth population, the analysis and policy recommendations must reflect a deep understanding of historic and present systemic barriers created by institutional racism and apply a racial equity lens to the proposed systems policies that impact the health of children and their families. In addition, the Associate/Senior Associate will have the opportunity to contribute to the development and design of future policy projects and advocacy campaigns.

This full-time position will benefit from the opportunity for a hybrid work environment based in any of our offices – Oakland, Los Angeles, or Sacramento – and reporting to the Senior Managing Director of Health and Research.  Some travel and in-person meetings between Children Now’s offices and regional meetings throughout the state and outside of California will be required.

Ideal Candidates

Candidate will have significant health and human services research, systems, and policy knowledge (especially Medi-Cal), with advocacy experience in state policy, including knowledge of and relationships in the state legislature, Governor’s office, state agencies, and managed care organizations.  The candidate will also be highly strategic systems thinkers and possess knowledge of the interrelation of state and local policies and programs.  Candidates must have exceptional communication skills (written, verbal, and interpersonal), excellent project management ability, outstanding relationship building skills, 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 and Research, set goals, develop strategies, conduct policy and advocacy work to advance Children Now’s health and equity policy agenda;
  • 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, all with a strong emphasis on racial equity as we advance our mission;
  • In collaboration with other policy staff, support and help manage health policy projects, focused on health care access and financing, early childhood mental health, and addressing social determinants of health, including contributing to all phases of research, project planning and strategy, and the timely execution of deliverables;
  • Support strategy development of new children’s health issue advocacy areas, especially within the context of opportunities to improve outcomes for children enrolled in Medi-Cal;
  • 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;
  • 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
  • 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.


  • A minimum of three years of extensive health policy experience, with a preference for advocacy or non-profit experience;
  • Experience working in systems that directly impact health policy, ideally at both the local and state policy level, including experience in health care, mental health, nutrition, early childhood development, maternal health, human services, and/or child welfare;
  • Deep knowledge of health system financing and policies, ideally with specific knowledge of Medi-Cal and adjacent systems in California, and with strong relationships in the health advocacy field and/or familiarity with health plan operations and policies;
  • Ideal candidate will have existing knowledge of California’s political system, the state’s diverse communities, and the impacts created by racism, poverty, discrimination and other issues as relevant;
  • 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;
  • Excellent research, editing and writing skills, including non-profit development and grant-writing experience to effectively convey the organization’s accomplishments, mission, strategy, and commitment to racial equity and to elevate the importance of health issues in California;
  • 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, and analysis; and
  • Graduate degree in public policy, public health, public administration, or related field preferred but not required.


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

Application Process

Please complete the online 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.