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Logan rep introduces bill to create a Utah Office of Families

The Utah State Capitol with snow around it.

The office would house several existing departments, at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

Before this year’s State Legislative Session, Rep. Dan Johnson (R-Logan) was approached by Aimee Winder Newton, who works for the governor, about creating an Office of Families.

Johnson said he was surprised Utah didn’t already have something like that, so he was interested in sponsoring a bill that would create this office.

He has since introduced House Bill 246, which would create the Office of Families. It would exist within the Department of Health and Human Services.

“So the Office of Families will make sure that families are of the utmost importance in Utah, and we understand the value in the impact of a strong family unit and how that impacts the life and growth of children," Rep. Johnson said.

The Office has announced three main priorities Marriage Readiness, Protecting Children and Supporting Parents.

“The future is really pretty bright, with the Office of Families to kind of oversee a lot of what is going on, but then to have formal ways of collecting data from those agencies and from those nonprofits. That could, as we mentioned earlier, impact policy and impact, maybe request for appropriations," Rep. Johnson said.

This bill is not seeking money to create the office. According to Johnson, the funding will come from readjustments within the Department of Health and Human Services. The estimated cost of the office is $166,400.

The bill is currently waiting to go to a committee.

“But I think we really need to advocate for families and for kids. They need to be safe, need to be well educated, they need to be able to have access to important things that they want to do in their lives," Rep. Johnson said.

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.