Mission & History


Voices for Utah Children works to make Utah a place where all children thrive. We start with one basic question: "Is it good for kids?" At Voices for Utah Children, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. And to achieve this vision, we focus on five key areas that benefit the healthy development of all children. We believe:

  1. Health: all children deserve to receive affordable, comprehensive and high-quality health care;
  2. School Readiness: all children and their parents deserve to receive the services and support they need to enable them to start school prepared for success;
  3. Safety: all children deserve to be safe in their homes and communities from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.
  4. Economic Stability: all children deserve to live in families that can provide for their needs and make investments in their future;
  5. Diversity: all children deserve to achieve their full potential in a society that closes opportunity gaps and recognizes and values diversity.

What Makes us Unique

Big wins for kids don't just happen by accident. They happen because of advocacy – when skilled professionals backed by thoughtful funders show policymakers that government can and should act to keep kids safe and help them grow. As a multi-issue child advocacy organization, Voices for Utah Children is making a difference in our kids' lives by:

  1. Raising awareness. Through research, media campaigns and advocacy work, we continue to communicate the most vital needs of Utah's children.
  2. Influencing policy. By having a voice in decisions made by policymakers, we help ensure that the needs of children are raised in every policy debate.
  3. Uniting our community. By bringing the power of a community together – legislators, business executives, private funders, government agency representative, nonprofit directors, and ordinary citizens – we help identify and resolve the tough problems facing Utah's children and families.


Irene Fisher, Executive Director of the anti-poverty organization Utah Issues, attended a national conference in 1983 sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), a national child advocacy organization. Irene was impressed with CDF's effectiveness as advocates for child care, child health, child nutrition, prevention of child abuse, and other problems that impacted children whose parents were least able to advocate for them. She believed that a similar state-level organization could play an important role in Utah with its young and vulnerable population. Utah Children was created in 1985 as an advocacy group that would not provide direct services, but would provide a voice for Utah children in public policy decisions.roz memorial 002

In 1988, Roz McGee became Utah Children’s first Executive Director and over the next 13 years she turned an organization with virtually no budget, no staff, and no history into a professional and powerful voice, fighting on behalf of children and families. We are so thankful for Roz. Her passion and vision has left an imprint on this organization and our staff that continues to inspire and guide our work.

Roz’s spirit that won her the “Hell Raiser of the Year Award" for leading the charge for children in Utah continues to live in the hearts of the current generation of Hell Raisers here at Voices for Utah Children.

In 2002, Utah Children became Voices for Utah Children. Today, we are recognized as a credible, nonpartisan, and forceful voice for children and families by policymakers, the media, and the public. The Spring 2007 issue of the "Stanford Social Innovation Review" called Voices for Utah Children "the state's best-known advocate for children's issues, and the go-to source for the media, state agencies, and elected officials on issues affecting children."