By Adelle Schubarg, Environmental Research Assistant
Vikki Crouse is a Policy Analyst at NC Child and the Project Director of the organization’s NC KIDS COUNT Data Center. NC Child is a statewide nonprofit organization that specializes in research and policy advocacy, working to ensure that every child in North Carolina has the opportunity to thrive. As the Director of the NC KIDS COUNT program, Vikki conducts data analyses for fellow advocates to utilize in their campaigns. Other responsibilities include tracking indicators on child wellbeing, answering questions from reporters and community members, and doing data presentations for affiliated groups.
While her position covers a range of responsibilities, Vikki says the most enjoyable part of her job is getting to work with diverse stakeholders.
She loves getting out of the office and meeting with stakeholders, such as the Healthy Homes Task Force, and working together towards a common goal. Vikki comments on the importance of collaboration among stakeholders and coordination between the private and public sector to ensure a project’s success.
At NC Child, Vikki also leads the Children’s Environmental Health Program, with a focus on issues including lead prevention, getting toxic flame retardants out of children’s products and clean drinking water. She says that the hardest part of her job is getting support to adopt primary prevention solutions in environmental health. She notes the difficulty in getting policies passed that aim to protect kids before they become exposed to environmental hazards.
Vikki is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill where she double-majored in sociology and political science and earned her master’s in social work. Her passion for policy advocacy stemmed from personal experience. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, Vikki’s experience growing up in the South sparked her interest in policy advocacy. Her internship with the NC Justice Center during graduate school motivated her to pursue advocacy work post-graduation.
Upon graduating, Vikki was awarded the State Policy Fellowship that allowed her to pursue a position as a policy analyst at the Michigan League for Public Policy. She comments that it was a great learning experience that allowed her to develop and build on skills that would later be useful in the environmental health field. Her work at the Michigan League centered on fiscal and immigration advocacy and included tasks such as state budget analysis and coalition-building. Vikki emphasizes that immigration and environmental health advocacy should be rooted in racial justice work and notes the importance of centering racial equity in both issue areas as a result.
NC Child joined the NC Lead and Healthy Homes Task Force several years ago. As part of the Task Force, NC Child keeps the group informed about state policy proposals and the nonprofit’s current policy campaigns. Vikki says that the Task Force is a great partnership. The relationships with members of the Task Force help strengthen NC Child’s advocacy efforts throughout the state.