Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellow, Child Welfare Leader

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Posting Date

Chapin Hall

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago seeks a visionary translational scholar to lead a large research portfolio in child welfare.


Chapin Hall is an independent policy research center at the University of Chicago that provides public and private decision-makers with rigorous research and achievable solutions to support them in improving the lives of children, families, and communities. Chapin Hall partners with policymakers, practitioners, and philanthropists at the forefront of research and policy development by applying a unique blend of scientific research, real-world experience, and policy expertise to construct actionable information, practical tools, and, ultimately, positive change for children, youth, and families. Chapin Hall’s unwavering partnership mindset is also demonstrated in its commitment to employees by fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment, at all times, that is committed to reflecting diversity and inclusion in its culture, projects, and workforce. Established in 1985, Chapin Hall's areas of research include child welfare systems, community capacity to support children and families, and youth homelessness. For more information about Chapin Hall, visit or @Chapin_Hall. Also take a moment and view this video clip from various staff regarding why they enjoy working at Chapin Hall.

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago seeks a visionary translational scholar to lead a large research portfolio in child welfare. We seek to hire an individual who shares our core values and standards for designing and conducting high quality research intended to improve quality of life, well-being, and outcomes for children, youth, and families. As a research center affiliated with the University of Chicago, Chapin Hall seeks to improve the evidence base; inform decision making at the federal, state, and local levels; support the design and testing of interventions; enable faithful implementation and adaptation; and develop innovative means of leveraging administrative data to inform systems change. This is an ideal opportunity for an established scholar and leader.

The successful applicant will develop, lead, and collaborate with a team of staff to design and conduct translational research that informs systems, policies, programs, and interventions related to child welfare and child well-being. This research leader will have a national reputation, a rigorous portfolio of funded, policy relevant translational research, and a track record of effective mentoring. This leader will maintain a clearly articulated research agenda, a dynamic, funded portfolio and work across teams to generate research that can inform public policy and interventions. They will establish themselves as an organizational leader who attracts collaborators and designs and executes research in partnership with colleagues and state child welfare leaders, pursuing a range of dissemination outlets aimed at diverse stakeholders. Additionally, the Senior Research Fellow/Research Fellow will seek and maintain an active, positive role in contributing to the organizational culture through formal and informal engagements, mentoring, and service.

Experience leading a body of large research projects (including federal) and strong management skills are fundamental to the role. The exact subspecialty is open and will include a record of published scholarship within child welfare. This individual will lead Chapin Hall’s substantial partnership with the IL Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), which consists of over a dozen projects per year and will pursue within and beyond that their own translational scholarship. The successful applicant will have a demonstrated record of leadership and collaboration with internal and external partners (e.g., public and private funders, fellow scholars, implementers), be well versed in child welfare policy and practice, and a prominent member of a community of child welfare scholars. We seek a national leader whose portfolio, funding record, contributions, and historical capacity for mentoring are well established and influential.


  • Leads a rigorous portfolio of interdisciplinary, funded research related to Chapin Hall’s mission, contributing to organizational strategy, growth, and impact
  • Generates innovative research questions and approaches; develops and implements research studies that utilize appropriate research methods (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods), working in partnership with public child welfare officials and (when feasible) community partners
  • Develops new business by pursuing external partnerships, writing grants, and pursuing contracts
  • Oversees the development of client/project deliverables, contributes to and ensures continuous quality improvement, and creates a team culture that results in staff and client satisfaction
  • Reports to stakeholders and disseminates findings to multiple audiences and outlets, in collaboration with colleagues and Chapin Hall leadership
  • Through active mentoring and by example, contributes to the professional development of colleagues, ensuring succession and promoting the growth of talent, research agendas, and funding
  • Through close engagement with colleagues and leadership, functions as a thought leader in the organization and seeks to further Chapin Hall’s mission
  • Through committee and related service, contributes to the development and refining of internal systems that support the effective execution of projects, staff development and advancement, and a positive organizational culture
  • As appropriate, engages/oversees the capacity building, implementation support, and embedded research and evaluation activities as part of partner engagements; effectively integrates multiple functions to produce relevant, holistic, and timely research findings
  • Understands and effectively navigates the complex relationships between key funding, research, and policy stakeholders

A doctoral degree in social work, public policy, education, public health, child and human development, psychology, sociology or another relevant field plus a minimum of 10 years of experience leading the design and implementation of research and evaluation in child welfare.


  • A longitudinal record of scholarly productivity, e.g., ample experience in the design and conduct of research, including positions of successive responsibility and leadership (e.g., principal investigator, center director, team leader on funded projects, administrative leader)
  • A track record in securing funding from multiple sources, i.e., an established, funded portfolio of translational research, including grants and contracts from public (federal, state, jurisdictions) and private (foundations, other sources) sources
  • Evidence of successful collaboration and partnership with funders, colleagues, senior scholars, administrators, and other leaders
  • Demonstrated ability to supervise and mentor junior staff and/or graduate students who develop and execute independent portfolios of research
  • Expert knowledge of the relative strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including the clear ability to design, develop, execute, present, and publish translational research
  • Successful dissemination, including but not limited to writing and publishing research reports for scholarly (peer reviewed) and non-scholarly audiences, delivering presentations and providing consultation to a diverse range of stakeholders, and effectively tailoring messages to the audience

Other Required Qualifications

  • Strong communications skills with the ability to translate and convey complex concepts and study findings in oral and written communications
  • Strong project and personnel management skills, with the ability to manage multiple, concurrent tasks required
  • Highly flexible problem-solving and analytic skills required
  • Demonstrated capacity for working in a collaborative research environment and with partners
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the desire and ability to contribute positively to the culture and intellectual life of Chapin Hall and to effectively manage key stakeholder relationships
  • Demonstrated judgment and discretion in the handling of sensitive information.
  • Ability to travel locally and nationally
  • Understands the relative merits and limitations of diverse analytic software such as SAS, SPSS, STATA, Atlas.ti, and/or NVIVO, as applicable

This is a nationwide recruitment. This position is intended for our headquarters in Chicago, though there is potential for remote work (i.e., work from home) when feasible.


Chain Hall is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our staff. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. During this time travel is suspended.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position for extended periods of time.
  • Must be able to operate a computer extensively for four (4) or more hours per day.
  • Must be able to travel locally and nationally.

Pre-employment background checks are required for all Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago positions. To express interest in this opening, please visit

Formal expressions of interest are accepted online only.
A cover letter, resume, writing sample, and reference contact information are required to be considered for this position.

Individuals in need of reasonable accommodations to complete the application process should contact Human Resources by calling (773) 256-5157, or by sending an email to [email protected].

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer that values and actively seeks diversity in its workforce. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, status as an individual with disability, age, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by law.

Organization Summary

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago engages in research and policy work to solve real-world problems and improve the lives of children, youth, and families.

We collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as foundations and nonprofit organizations, to produce rigorous research, aiming to reduce the time between scientific discovery and the use of evidence in the field. Chapin Hall brings a unique blend of research and policy expertise to its partnerships.

Together, we develop and test policies, programs, and practices to achieve results.

Chapin Hall is an acknowledged national leader in child welfare and is known for groundbreaking work in big data. Additional areas of impact include child and adolescent well-being; community, economic, and school supports; juvenile justice; and youth homelessness.

Chapin Hall is strengthened by its affiliation with the University of Chicago, one of the nation’s foremost research organizations.

Chapin Hall collaborates with the University and scholars across the country in the active translation of knowledge into solutions that inform policy and practice.

In all our work, we aim to produce relevant, timely, and actionable solutions. We help partners develop robust, practical interventions that leverage the best available evidence, and to implement those interventions faithfully.

Job Overview

Job Type
Full time

1313 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Application Deadline
Open until filled