Paulani Cortez-Villas joined the Partnership for America's Children as a fellow in June 2017. Originally from South Texas, she grew up on the US-Mexico border and has worked in immigration advocacy. In particular, she is hoping to leverage these experiences to work on issues affecting immigrant children and their families.
Paulani recently graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Politics and certificates in Gender & Sexuality Studies and American Studies. Using experimental, quanititative, and qualitative methods in political science, her academic work focused on voting behavior, campaign outreach, and electoral trends affecting the Latino and LGBTQ communities. Though trained in political science, she is excited to join the Partnership for America's Children and work on policy and advocacy affecting kids.
Deborah Stein has more than 30 years of experience in policy analysis and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children. In April 2015, Debbie became the first Network Director for the Partnership for America’s Children, a network of 50+ state and local independent, multi-issue, child advocacy organizations. The Partnership strengthens, connects, and inspires its members so that they can better improve the lives of children in their communities and across the country.
Debbie most recently spent nine years at the Hatcher Group, where she was Vice-President for Policy. Her work there included developing much of the content for the Casey Foundation’s Advocacy Learning Lab (ALL), writing and editing policy reports , providing strategic communications services and training child advocates in strategic communications, leading Tax Credits for Working Families, helping launch Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, advocating for better state level data for children, and developing messaging for a wide range of clients.
Before the Hatcher Group, she worked for nine years with Voices for America’s Children, where she led the organization’s state and federal policy work and led peer-to-peer advocacy trainings for a national network of child advocates to enable them to be more effective. Her responsibilities included issues such as welfare reform, early care and education, foster care and preventive services, child health, and family economic stability. Debbie previously worked for the Food Research and Action Center and for several national legal services organizations. She spent six years at Brooklyn Legal Services, where she represented indigent clients in housing matters and in obtaining public assistance. She was co-president of the New York City Legal Services union local. A cum laude graduate of Princeton University, Debbie has a law degree from New York University.