Paula Corrigan-Halpern has more than 25 years of experience of leading statewide advocacy efforts and building public support for innovative practices and policies that improve the health, education, and well-being of children and families.
Paula has led Children’s Home & Aid’s Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation since 2013. The Ahlquist Center advances program innovations and public policies that are antiracist, equitable and directed at creating social capital, economic mobility and systems designed to insure thriving children, families and communities. The Ahlquist Center team has passed legislation providing child care to families of young children exposed to neglect or abuse and establishing the Governor’s Youth Budget Commission. The Youth Budget Commission analyzes public spending for older youth and young adults and recommends policies and funding strategies to enable young people to enter adulthood with the skills, education and agency to build exceptional lives. Programs incubated by the Ahlquist Center include the Illinois Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care (IPPYC) Home Visiting pilot and the Power of Fathers program.
Prior to joining Children’s Home & Aid, Paula was the policy advocacy director at Voices for Illinois Children where she worked closely with staff, partner organizations, and community leaders to create effective policy solutions and champion Voices’ advocacy agenda in Springfield. She has also worked on family economic security issues, afterschool initiatives, and K-12 education, directing communications for the Education, Human Development, and Workforce Division at American Institutes for Research. Paula directed the state policy agenda for Metropolitan Family Services and worked as a journalist early in her career. Paula has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.