Research & Policy Director

Employer:
Voices for Georgia’s Children (www.georgiavoices.org) is celebrating 15 years as an independent non-profit organization that seeks to ensure all children to be safe, healthy, educated, connected to family and community, and prepared to be productive and responsible citizens. As advocates for the next generation, our primary functions are education and research, communication, coalition building, and public and legislative advocacy. We believe that sound, research-based public policy provides the basis for adequate investment, effective systems, and productive programs that will lead to good outcomes for children. To achieve policy change we provide elected officials, agency and community leaders with the information, experience, and constituent voice that support sound decisions about children. Voices plays a key role in several statewide coalitions, state leadership initiatives, and fosters a team environment where most projects engage multiple members of the staff to achieve excellence.

Our Strategy:
We achieve our influence through advocacy with elected and appointed officials and through extensive collaboration and engagement of local, state and national organizations. We partner with academic and nonprofit organizations with deep knowledge of key children’s issues to ensure a research-base to our policy agenda. We convene leadership teams of organizations with common objectives for collective advocacy; and we engage and educate a broad network of individuals and organizations to encourage a community culture that gives priority to children. Through traditional and social media we educate and encourage the larger community to support the needs of children.

Voices’ Policy Agenda:
Voices’ policy agenda aims to improve laws, regulations, administrative initiatives and priorities, and state investments to the betterment of child wellbeing and the systems that serve children. Priorities of the agenda are early childhood development from birth to age eight; child health, including quality health coverage for all children; vulnerable and disconnected youth, young people ages 14-21 who need support and intervention to get back on track to a successful adulthood; and quality out-of-school time programs and family’s access to them. We advance these policies in the public arena as well as protect and defend against threats to children and the families that support them.

Position Summary:
The Research & Policy Director will provide leadership for all policy priorities that are part of the Voices’ child policy agenda. They will ensure the standards and quality of our recommendations, oversee all policy related communications and publications. They will work with the Advocacy Director in educating and building relationships with influential state leadership.

Responsibilities:

  1. Ensure the effectiveness of policies promoted by Voices
    1. Conduct necessary research and analysis through our demonstration and evaluation projects
    2. Work with expert partners to ensure the currency and potential effectiveness of the policy agenda relative to national research and best practices
    3. Maintain a working knowledge of significant research and state and national reports on child policy
    4. Engage service providers and youth themselves in assessing the appropriateness of policy recommendations
    5. Convene, as necessary, organizations and advocates to set objectives for youth outcomes and priorities for policy change
  2. Represent Voices in community venues related to child policy issues.
    1. Be the primary Voices contact on selected children’s issues
    2. Serve on related committees, task forces and boards
    3. Present on behalf of Voices in conferences, public forums and discussions of children and family policy.
  3. Ensure appropriate communications regarding the policy agenda
    1. Work collaboratively with the Advocacy Director on the development of key messages for the priority policies
    2. Oversee the issue content of the Voices website
    3. Serve as spokesperson to the media on Voices’ position and the research and rationale behind Voices’ policy recommendations
  4. Work with the Advocacy Director to provide lobbying and advocacy support for the policy agenda
    1. Provide expert testimony and lobby when necessary on Voices’ policy and legislative agenda
    2. Manage issue-specific coalitions as necessary to support Voices’ advocacy strategy
    3. Direct grass roots advocacy efforts through electronic and social media related to the assigned policy issues
  5. Supervise policy analysts conducting research, report and brief writing, project management, and other duties assigned

Qualifications:
The ideal candidate must believe in the role of public policy in improving the lives of children, especially low income and disadvantaged children. He/she must enjoy and respect the political process and be committed to a nonpartisan approach to change. The Research & Policy Director also must be committed to reaching out to diverse audiences including racial and ethnic groups, faith organizations, and those with a range of political ideologies.

We require at least 10 years of experience working in public policy or an environment focused on children’s issues or a Ph.D., J.D., or Master’s degree and five years of public policy experience. We seek demonstrated ability to evaluate quality research and data; good writing skills with ability to communicate issues to the board and to community leaders; ability to work effectively in an external partisan political environment, recognizing community perspectives and balancing that environment with the best interests of children.

Desired Skills and Attributes

  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Strong command of research design and data analysis
  • Strong interpersonal and verbal communications skills for representation of the organization with external partners and policy-makers.
  • Flexibility, high energy, and a strong team player. Willingness to change tasks on short notice and pitch in on team products when needed.
  • Willingness to participate in occasional out-of-town travel.

Compensation:
Voices for Georgia’s Children regularly reviews the non-profit marketplace and targets salaries to be competitive in the Atlanta market. Position includes medical, dental, vision and disability benefits, 401(k) retirement plan with an employer matching contribution, annual leave, sick time, and holiday pay. Voices promotes a healthy work/life balance.

Voices is an equal opportunity employer.

Please apply by sending a thoughtful cover letter, including salary expectations, and a resume to mdowdell@georgiavoices.org. Indicate Research & Policy Director in the subject line. No calls, please.