Director of Child Welfare Initiatives, Butler Institute for Families

Apply now Job no: 493158
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Instructional Support, Research

Throughout its 75-year history, the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work has administered countless externally funded projects targeting children and families. These efforts preceded and provided the impetus for the establishment of the Butler Institute for Families in 1994. Today, we are nationally recognized for our leadership and collaborative work at the national, state, and local level in evaluation, research, and technical assistance aimed at improving the quality of child-, youth-, and family-serving systems.

We bring together researchers, practitioners, public and private service system experts, and community members to: engage in program evaluation and research; examine outcomes; and provide technical assistance and training to program administrators, direct service providers, and community leaders. Currently, Butler conducts business in three primary content areas: child welfare (including tribal child welfare); early childhood systems; and behavioral health. These content areas operate within a Research-to-Practice framework that promotes the use, adoption, adaptation, replication, and/or scaling of research and/or evaluation knowledge and the integration of this knowledge in practice.

Position Summary

The Director of Child Welfare Initiatives leads the child welfare content area within Butler's Research-to-Practice framework. The current portfolio of over $2 million includes child welfare practice initiatives of training and coaching projects and professional development initiatives in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota, as well as the newly launched Butler Academy of Professional Coaching. The position also leads communications and dissemination for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) and child welfare evaluation projects, including the comprehensive evaluation of the National Child Welfare Workforce and the Colorado IVE Stipend Program Evaluation. Other current or recent projects have focused on Comprehensive Organizational Health Assessments for public child welfare systems, secondary data analysis projects, 360 workforce assessments, and implementation evaluation of child welfare initiatives.

This position generates and leads sponsored practice, research, and evaluation projects related to child welfare systems and workforce development and leads a project team of 15-18 staff. The position involves: deep content knowledge of child welfare practice, implementation science and research, proficiency in statistical and/or qualitative analyses and interpretation; planning research and evaluation studies and framing research/evaluation questions; identifying appropriate instrumentation to address research questions; synthesizing information from diverse data sources; and report generation for projects within the child welfare content area. Responsibilities also include applying for and receiving external support for Butler's child welfare research, evaluation, and capacity building work, leading grant proposal writing, and completing other project management tasks, such as budget projection and coordination of tasks with multiple stakeholders. The position is part of the Butler Institutes Research-to-Practice team, which includes Directors of Child Welfare, Early Childhood, Behavioral Health, and Tribal Child Welfare content areas, Director of Practice Innovations, Acting Executive Director, Director of Operations, and Director of Finance and Grants Administration.

Essential Functions

Content Lead Oversight

  • Provide vision and direction for the child welfare content area.
  • Apply for and receive research, evaluation, and capacity building contracts that focus on child welfare and the intersection of child welfare, behavioral health, early childhood, and other related areas, such as TANF, domestic violence, judicial systems, and health.
  • Develop research partnerships with other child welfare researchers and stakeholders within Colorado and nationally.
  • Generate, disseminate, and promote uptake of child welfare research and evaluation findings and capacity building.
  • Ensure that Butlers strategic priorities, including the Research-to-Practice framework, are incorporated into child welfare work.
  • Facilitate child welfare learning and professional development among project staff.
  • Integrate anti-racist and multicultural organizational decision making and inclusivity within the child welfare content area and within proposed and implemented project work.

Content Lead Administration

  • Manage communication within the child welfare content area. 
  • Communicate and coordinate with other content area leads, including coordinating staffing assignments across content areas.
  • Conduct cross-project staffing resolutions within the child welfare content area.
  • Coordinate with PIs, including Butler staff and GSSW/DU faculty affiliates within the child welfare content area.
  • Act as PI on projects within the child welfare content area.
  • Supervise direct reports and oversee supervision structure within the child welfare content area.

Research and Evaluation Design, Data Collection, Statistical Analysis and Interpretation and Project Management 

  • Develop and nurture positive working relationships with clients, programs, and other key project stakeholders.
  • Lead the design and development of research, evaluation, and/or capacity building projects.
  • Lead framing of research and evaluation questions using a racial equity lens.
  • Design intervention, implementation, and evaluation capacity-building protocols.
  • Develop innovative qualitative and quantitative data collection protocols, tools, and methodologies.
  • Verify the validity of data.
  • Participate in conducting interviews and focus groups applying principles of cultural humility.
  • Lead data analysis activities.
  • Identify qualitative and/or quantitative analysis techniques appropriate for answering research questions.
  • Analyze complex qualitative or quantitative data.
  • Synthesize information from literature reviews and multiple data sources.
  • Utilize content expertise to make novel and/or impactful interpretations and conclusions.
  • Plan and organize research projects as PI or Co-PI.
  • Manage teams on projects.
  • Execute and control the research study and make high-level decisions about project direction and scope.
  • Manage scope of work against available budgets and identify solutions; communicate changes with funders when appropriate.
  • Negotiate contract and sub-contract statements of work.


  • Lead the writing of reports, publications, and dissemination materials.
  • Develop and present results to key stakeholders, funders, and other identified audiences.
  • Generate and implement dissemination plan.
  • Present findings at conferences or other dissemination events, ensuring a reach to diverse audiences and communities.

Grant Writing and Business Development 

  • Seek funding opportunities and bring in new or expanded work in child welfare content area.
  • Lead screening, planning, and preparation of grant proposals.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Supervisory Duties

  • Lead the child welfare content area.
  • Supervise Senior Associates and/or Associates.
  • Make recommendations about hiring, advancement, performance improvement, and/or termination of employees.
  • Oversee team structure and strategic hiring priorities assuring commitment to screening, selection, and hiring practices that advance Butler as an anti-racist, multicultural organization.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Excellent written and oral language skills required for professional report generation, presentations, and grant applications, as well as coordinating and communicating with content lead team members, and multiple professionals and lay stakeholders. 
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate effectively and diplomatically with a variety of stakeholders using various modes of communication, including in person, by phone, over email, by virtual technology, and through written project materials.
  • Deep understanding of and current expertise in child welfare content area.
  • Reasoning ability at the post-Ph.D. level required.
  • Ability to work with members of diverse cultures and communities with respect and cultural humility.
  • Ability to manage projects within the Research-to-Practice Framework.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Broad array of research skills, including research design, data collection and management, and statistical analysis, including proficiency in SPSS, Atlas-TI, and/or other statistical analysis packages.
  • Ability to manage and develop relationships with multiple stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.
  • Ability to utilize flexible evaluation approaches to meet changing project needs.
  • Ability to use independent discretion and judgement beyond daily routine decisions, including comparing and evaluating possible courses of conduct or decision making on matters of significance.
  • Ability to select outcome instruments and indicators.
  • Ability to draft complex narrative reports and correspondence with minimal guidance.
  • Strong organization and time management skills, including ability to multi-task and prioritize competing deadlines and timelines.
  • Ability to tactfully hold project members and leadership colleagues accountable to deadlines.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft Office Word and PowerPoint.
  • Strong analytical and solution-building skills.
  • Ability to conduct and implement project design while managing and collaborating with others.
  • Ability to set and achieve high performance goals and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Adaptable to changing priorities while demonstrating the highest level of customer service.
  • Independently motivated to identify, research, and propose approaches and solutions as needed for projects.
  • Strong initiative to learn and share information relevant to this position and Butlers projects.
  • Demonstrated abilities providing quality presentations.
  • Excellent writing skills and interpersonal/teamwork skills.
  • Ability to work with members of diverse cultures and backgrounds different than their own.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in Human Services or other relevant field.
  • In-depth knowledge of child welfare systems, including policies, programs, and best practices.
  • 3-5 years experience leading program evaluation or community-based research.
  • Experience in designing, managing, and successfully leading large research projects independently.
  • Experience writing grant proposals.
  • Experience supervising staff or teams.
  • Experience working with grant funding in government, non-profit, or university settings.
  • Experience with culturally-responsive evaluation approaches.

Preferred Qualifications

  • 4 or more years of experience leading program evaluation or community-based research.
  • Experience working with Tribal child welfare programs.
  • In-depth understanding of implementation science and application to evaluation and evidence-building.
  • Experience with evaluation capacity building.
  • Experience creating logic models and conducting theories of change.

Work Schedule
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) on October 16, 2020Applications will continue to be reviewed until the position is filled.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Salary Range
Salary will be determined by the qualifications of the selected candidate balanced with departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Resume
2. Cover Letter

The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military/ veteran status or any other status protected by law.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

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