TITLE: Director, Policy Reform and Advocacy
FUNDING AREAS: Child poverty, Community Development, Public Policy
CONTACT: email@example.com, (410) 547-6600
IP TAKE: Laracy is a key ally for anti-poverty groups focused on changing policy, particularly at the state level.
PROFILE: Michael Laracy is the director for policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children. Laracy is also responsible for the foundation's initiatives and grant-making agenda in income security and child advocacy.
Before joining the foundation in August 1994, Laracy was assistant commissioner for policy, planning, and program evaluation in the New Jersey Department of Human Services, where he served for 17 years. During that time, he played a role in the design and implementation of the state's 1987 welfare reform program, REACH, as well as the state's 1992 reform effort, the Family Development Program. Laracy completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Rutgers University, where he studied urban planning and public policy.
Working at the federal level, Laracy describes the foundation's directive:
"We feel that efforts to reduce the deficit must align with investments that grow the economy and create jobs that lift working families out of poverty, allowing them to parent children in progressively safer and more nurturing households. At the same time, we must invest in children and youth through quality early learning opportunities and the development of a career pipeline for adolescents and young adults who need to enter the workforce.
Laracy's focus on the state level focuses on alleviating tax burdens on low-income families and expanding Medicaid coverage to vulnerable populations.
The foundation's work is fluid, particularly in its mindfulness in serving children. But Laracy does oversee a specific child advocacy program as well, entitled KIDS COUNT. That program works on the state level to overhaul child welfare programs and juvenile judicial reform systems.