Hello fellow child advocates! My name is Kelli Soyer and I am the new State Director of Every Child Matters in Iowa. I am excited for this opportunity and look forward to connecting with you, the voice for Iowa’s children!
I am an Iowa native, currently living in Des Moines with my husband, Paul, and daughter, Sayde. Des Moines has been home for the majority of my life, except while earning my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After graduation, I worked at a domestic violence shelter, and then with children in the foster care system while at the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS).
I earned my Master’s of Social Work in 2003 through U of I’s MSW program in Des Moines. That led to a job at the Child and Family Policy Center (CFPC) in Des Moines, helping to develop a child advocacy network, followed by a 7-year stint as Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers, Iowa Chapter. Most recently, I worked for a private company helping to manage a program to enroll Iowans in qualified health plans.
I join Every Child Matters with a vision to increase the number of Iowans vocal about their support for Iowa’s children. I want you to have conversations with presidential candidates, your local elected officials, members of your community, and with your family and friends. I want the candidates to see that Iowans have a priority – our priority is kids!
Nelson Mandela once said, “The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children.” As I reflect on this statement, I think of the work we still have left to do. My list looks like this:
- Provide greater access to high-quality child care and allow children the opportunity to attend high-quality pre-school so they start Kindergarten ready to learn;
- Fund prevention and parenting supports to protect children;
- Provide opportunities for school-aged children to access safe, learning environments after school;
- Meet children’s health care needs; and
- Identify solutions to promote policies to lift families out of poverty.
Whew – that is a long list. However, I feel it is work that we can do together. Please join me in our effort to make children a priority in the coming caucus and election season. I will be connecting with you to identify ways we can make this happen. If you have thoughts, ideas, or opportunities we can connect with your community, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.