SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Governor Spencer Cox (R-Utah) launched the Office of Families in September 2022.

Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton (R-Salt Lake County) accepted the job as director. She says the goal is to invest now to avoid more costly problems down the road.

“The whole purpose of this is to strengthen families proactively in an upstream manner and be involved in a way we can cut issues that are causing issues for families. We don’t want to spend all this money later to fix problems that come when kids come from unstable homes,” said Winder Newton.

One way they plan to do that is to lend a helping hand to vulnerable families with children under the age of three.

“One of the things we pitched to the legislature, and they agreed to fund was a home visiting program for our most vulnerable families. Families on WIC, or Medicaid, moms who have new babies, we want to help give them support in their home,” she said.

Youth mental health is another focus.

“We are seeing more and more kids in our state who are lonelier than ever before. We have data that show our kids aren’t getting enough sleep at night, that they are struggling with suicidal ideation, self-harm, and those numbers have skyrocketed since about 2010 when social media came on the forefront,” she said.

She joins us this week on Inside Utah Politics to discuss the top goals of the office and how they plan to implement their strategies.