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Research and Quality Improvement Specialist


Juvenile Protective Association

JPA is a 118-year old social service agency founded by Jane Addams and colleagues as part of the Settlement House movement. Our mission is to improve the social and emotional well-being and functioning of children so they can reach their fullest potential at home, in school, and in our communities. JPA provides mental health services and consultation in schools and agencies across Chicago that are trauma-informed and developmentally-informed, valuing relationships as the central vehicle for promoting meaningful and lasting changes in well-being and functioning.

In addition to our mental health services, JPA has a highly regarded Child Welfare Consulting team that provides expertise in practice, quantitative and qualitative research methods, evaluation, and quality improvement in the areas of trauma, mental health, child protection, and foster and residential care to meet the unique needs of public and private agencies in Illinois and nationally. Current and recent projects have involved partnerships with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), children’s advocacy centers (CACs) across Illinois, major research universities, mental health service providers, child abuse pediatricians, and foundations.

Position Summary:

The Research and Quality Improvement Specialist is a full time position on JPA’s Child Welfare Consulting team and reports to and works closely with JPA’s Executive Vice President.  This position requires a highly competent individual with a minimum of a masters degree in public health, public policy, social work, or related field.

Essential job functions and responsibilities:

  • Assist in and lead aspects of evaluation and quality improvement projects by: conducting literature reviews; designing the study; developing logic models, theories of change, and tracking tools; designing data collection methods;  collecting and managing data; analyzing quantitative and qualitative data; and summarizing evaluation findings and implications for policy and practice
  • Collaborate closely with partners to support their programs or research, to provide evaluation and quality improvement support, and to provide other training to meet their needs (e.g., deliver training on using Excel to partners)
  • Prepare research findings and disseminate to a wide range of audiences and through multiple media (e.g., reports, articles for publication, and presentations)
  • Present at conferences across the state and country on research findings
  • Provide support to JPA’s leadership team on internal evaluations of JPA’s mental health programs and quality improvement efforts
  • Review grant proposals and budgets as needed
  • Perform other JPA and external partner planning and evaluation tasks as necessary

Required qualifications and skills:

  • Master’s degree relevant to work in research in child welfare and mental health
  • Knowledge of and experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods and relevant software
  • Strong project management skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills necessary to build and maintain collaborative relationships
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
  • Strong written and oral communication skills with a wide range of audiences and through multiple media (e.g., publications, reports, presentations)
  • Commitment to learning and personal and professional development
  • Willingness to travel within Illinois and within the country for presentations and conferences

Preferred skills and qualifications:

  • Editing expertise
  • Research/evaluation experience and skills
  • Knowledge of mental health and/or child welfare evaluation and research
  • Knowledge of or experience using relational databases (e.g., creating queries)
  • Proficiency in using a geographic information system (GIS) software (e.g., QGIS)
  • Access to a car

Salary and Benefits:

  • Salary competitive for recent masters graduate
  • Generous PTO package (vacation, sick, and personal days)
  • Excellent health benefits
  • 403(b) with employer matching
  • Yearly professional development stipend of $1,000
  • Family leave, if applicable

JPA is an equal opportunity employer.

Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter via email to Stephen Budde, PhD at or . No phone inquiries please.