Session 1: Advocates

Event Details

How to Build Relationships with Advocacy Organizations

Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. ET. 

Sponsored by: SRCD’s Science and Social Policy Committee

About the session:

Advocacy organizations are often at the forefront of influencing policies at the state and federal level. They build direct relationships with legislatures and agency staff, and often work through the judicial system to challenge policy implementation or support children. For scholars, advocacy organizations are often a key intermediary to help you connect your work directly to policymakers.

Learn what role they play, how they use evidence, and how scholars can identify and connect with advocacy groups to help inform evidence-based policymaking. This webinar will provide you with practical knowledge and examples of highly successful scholars and advocate partnerships from groups that do this well.


Albert Wat, Alliance for Early Success

Albert WatAlbert Wat is a Senior Policy Director at Early Success, where he leads their portfolio of State and National Alliance partnerships and investments focused on early learning, including pre-k, childcare, and the education continuum from birth through third grade. Albert has experience in state policies on literacy and social-emotional development, pre-k access and quality, learning standards, assessments, data systems, and alignment between early learning policies and practices and education reform initiatives, especially in the early elementary years. Before joining Early Success, Mr. Wat was a Senior Policy Analyst in the Education Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, where he worked on early childhood education issues from birth through third grade. Prior, Albert was the Research Manager at Pre-K Now, an advocacy campaign at the Pew Center on the States, where he authored several policy reports, managed research activities for the initiative, and provided staff and states analysis and information about the latest pre-k and early education research and policy developments.

Jennifer Rodríguez, Youth Law Center

Jennifer RodríguezJennifer Rodríguez is the Executive Director at Youth Law Center, a national public interest law firm that has worked for four decades to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems so every child and youth can thrive. At Youth Law Center, Jennifer has worked to build and launch the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI), a national systems change strategy to strengthen foster care by focusing policy, practice and culture around child development research on the importance of relationships and excellent parenting for children. Jennifer’s leadership has a special focus on advocacy to reduce the use of institutional facilities and build systems that ensure children receive the opportunities necessary to heal and thrive. After spending most of her childhood in both foster care and juvenile justice institutions, Jennifer has spent her adult life advocating for systems to be responsive to the needs of youth. Jennifer’s advocacy has resulted in significant national policy, practice and culture changes around preparing systems involved youth for adulthood and formally including system involved youth as part of all policy processes. Ms. Rodriguez is the recipient of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Janet Reno Women's Leadership Award for her advocacy ensuring youth are included in foster care and juvenile justice policy development; the Juvenile Law Center' s Leadership Prize for her advocacy fighting for rights and well-being of youth in foster care and juvenile justice; and was recognized in 2021 as a federal Children's Bureau Champion for her national impact in transforming foster care to a support for families.


Dr. Rachel Katz, Start Early

Dr. Rachel KatzDr. Rachel Katz is an applied developmental scientist working at the nexus of research, policy, and practice. As Director of Research and Evaluation at Start Early, she is responsible for providing strategic and thought leadership and engaging in cross-organizational and mission-critical research and evaluation initiatives including the Educare Learning Network (ELN) and the National Center on Parent, Family, & Community Engagement (NCPFCE). Dr. Katz has an extensive background in research and evaluation, developmental research methods, advanced statistical techniques, foundational theories of child development, and research-practice-policy integration. She conducts research exploring the influence of early experiences on development, including how development can be shaped by factors such as early childhood education, home visiting experiences, caregiver-child relationships, adverse childhood experiences, and sociocultural inequities.


Registration Prices

Member Type Price
SRCD Member $0
Non-Member $20

Register here           Register for all 3