Lawmakers Hold First Children’s Caucus

Bipartisan group hears research findings on children’s well-being

MADISON – The Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators headed by Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), heard a series of presentations on evidence-informed policy for improving the lives of children at its first meeting today.

            The goal of the caucus will be to research and advocate for promising, evidence-informed public policy that will improve the quality of life for all Wisconsin's children, the lawmakers said. 

            “The Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus was developed over several months and with the input of several legislators and community stakeholders,” said Rep. Ballweg. “On behalf of Sen. Lassa and myself, we’d like to thank everyone who has collaborated with us to bring this important issue to the forefront.”

“Children are our most precious resource, and their well-being has a tremendous impact on the health of our entire society,” Sen. Lassa said. “That’s why I’m pleased that the Children’s Caucus will bring legislators together to meet with well-respected researchers and economists, and explore how to translate their latest findings into model public policy.”

Meeting at the State Capitol, the caucus heard a presentation on the science of early childhood brain development by Dr. Seth Pollak, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Katherine Magnuson, a professor of social work at UW-Madison, presented on programs to improve outcomes for economically disadvantaged children; and Dr. Art Rolnick of the University of Minnesota spoke on the benefits of investing in early childhood education.

Along with Sen. Lassa and Rep. Ballweg, nine bipartisan legislators representing both chambers contributed to the development of the Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus: Rep. Jill Billings, Rep. Eric Genrich, Rep. John Jagler, Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, Sen. Janet Bewley, Sen. Alberta Darling, Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd, Sen. Chris Larson, and Sen. Luther Olsen.