Julia Isaacs

Julia Isaacs's picture
Senior Fellow
The Urban Institute
Julia Isaacs is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, with 32 years of experience studying low-income children and families and the government programs that serve them. Child poverty was a major focus of her work as a Brookings Institute fellow, where she co-authored the Pew-funded study, Gaining or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility in America and conducted policy research on the effects of the recession on children, alternative poverty measures, and the school readiness of poor children. Since joining the Urban Institute, she has evaluated a number of government programs serving poor children; she directed a two-year study of how Head Start agencies set school readiness goals, a project that involved interviews with Head Start parents; she served as co-principal investigator of subsidized child care in Massachusetts, and she co-leads a project producing annual reports on public spending on children. As a senior researcher on a mixed-methods six-state evaluation of state efforts to modernize families’ access to public assistance benefits, she has led focus groups of SNAP clients, interviewed dozens of state and local workers, analyzed SNAP and TANF administrative records, and presented findings in reports, blogs and presentations. Ms. Isaacs spent half her career in government, including six years as director of the Division of Data and Technical Analysis at ASPE/HHS, where she managed an office of eight analysts and researchers and oversaw various research projects related to human services policy. and ten years at the Congressional Budget Office, where she analyzed costs associated with nutrition, child welfare, child care, and homeless programs. She has also conducted research at the American Institutes for Research and the Institute for Research on Poverty. Isaacs has an MPP from the University of California, Berkeley and is a former foster parent.