Senior Director of Research

Summary of Position:
Child Care Aware® of America is our nation’s leading voice for child care. We work to ensure that families in every community have access to quality, affordable child care. Child Care Aware® of America’s research function is located within the Department of Policy and Research. The research function is responsible for the data collection that supports Child Care Aware® of America’s policy work as well as evaluation components of ongoing contracts and programs conducted by Child Care Aware® of America departments. The department monitors current research in the early care and education field including oversight of white papers on emerging and current issues, partnerships with other research and advocacy organizations, and research/data collection to support trending issues in the media. The research function supports all Child Care Aware® of America’s Departments.

The Senior Director of Research is primarily responsible for contributing to the vision and development of a research agenda and policies and products aligned with Child Care Aware® of America’s strategic plan. To accomplish this, the Senior Director of Research will undertake research to develop national strategies to strengthen child care and the quality of child care across the country. In addition, this individual provides oversight and supervisory support to research staff, works alone and in cross-teams and cross-departments.

Position Duties and Responsibilities:

• In coordination with the Executive Director and the Chief of Policy and Research, develop a research agenda aligned with Child Care Aware® of America’s strategic plan to improve the quality of child care.
• Review national, state and local child care trends and use the findings to compile policy briefs and other documents to support Child Care Aware® of America’s overall mission and the improvements of early care and education.
• Review state quality systems, licensing policies, regulations, and statutes as part of the development of major annual child care licensing and other early childhood studies.
• In partnership with the Development department and project directors, create outcome measurement plans and evaluation strategies and systems for Child Care Aware® of America’s national programs.
• Conduct survey research on the child care resource and referral (CCR&R) field to describe trends and best practices that inform Child Care Aware® of America’s development of programs and services in support of the CCR&R field.
• Design surveys and systems to collect and analyze information as requested by the Executive Director and/or Chief of Policy.
• Conduct literature reviews where necessary, write research white papers and more general resources for a public audience where appropriate.
• Conduct evaluations and needs assessments in support of Child Care Aware® of America’s programs and services in collaboration with internal workgroups and colleagues across departments.
• In partnership with the Development Department, design evaluation plans and systems to support grant proposals and contract reporting requirements for national programs and partnerships.
• Develop funding proposals in coordination with the Development Department that support Child Care Aware® of America’s research goals and contribute to the National policy agenda.
• Manage projects as assigned and develop strategies, timelines, goals and deliverables to accomplish all tasks.
• Manage the development of research reports for the child care field and policymakers based on the findings of data analysis, research and other evaluations and coordinate with the Chief of Policy on recommendations.
• Represent Child Care Aware® of America at meetings and conferences to discuss the research agenda and its findings.
• Serve on national level research committees and federally funded research consortiums.
• Oversee the daily functions of the Research Analyst(s), consultants/vendors, or others responsible for deliverables under the research function.
• Ensure a supportive environment within the Policy and Research department that promotes employee professional growth and organizational loyalty.


• A Master’s Degree, PhD preferred in child development, early education or research related field; familiarity with early childhood delivery systems.
• At least five years of experience working in research, qualitative and quantitative data collection, and/or data collection coordination, experience processing complex survey data, as well as the ability to translate the data for public audiences (i.e., reports or white papers).
• Experience or training in use of major data processing software packages, preferably SPSS; extensive computing skills in the Windows environment, particularly with a variety of database applications; attention to detail.
• Experience writing research abstracts, reports and manuscripts. Ability to summarize data and to write reports explaining data trends and data highlights in a manner for easy public consumption.
• A successful record of creative leadership in the development and implementation of comprehensive policy, research and communications programs in a complex, multi-layered, work environment.


• Knowledge of survey research principles and practices; experience with political science and public policy
• Knowledge of relational databases with multiple tables; basic knowledge of SQL; ability to create multiple table queries and sub queries; ability to produce basic reports summarizing data.
• Knowledge of respondent confidentiality regulations.
• General familiarity of legislative process at the local, state, and federal levels preferred.
• In depth knowledge of national and state policies affecting child care and children.
• Familiarity with federal data sources (ie, Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.) related to children, families, the workforce, and poverty.


• Strategic thinking, planning, and management skills to conceptualize a research agenda and affect its delivery.
• Project management skills to manage complex and varied projects. Analytical and critical thinking skills to formulate research options and develop viable recommendations.


• Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced work environment.
• Ability to work under pressure and tight timelines, ability to re-order priorities while meeting deadlines and ability to delegate among team members.
• Ability to work independently, to work in teams, and to work well with individuals of varying backgrounds and skill levels to achieve goals.
• Excellent quantitative skills and ability to translate numbers into concepts.
• General knowledge of Census Bureau data and ability to use Census Bureau numbers.
• Research skills to plan and conduct research and to evaluate research activities.
• Advanced database skills
• Superior writing and presentation skills demonstrated in authoring position papers, reports, and communications materials including speeches, presentations and publications.
• Exceptional interpersonal skills to engage stakeholders, potential partners and collaborators to work on projects of mutual interest. Ability to establish and maintain credibility with a variety of partners.
• Excellent computer skills and experience with the Microsoft Office suite of products.

Essential Qualities

• Encourages and practices critical thinking;
• Is self-reflective and empathic;
• Maintains a respectful and accepting approach to others;
• Strong leader with executive-level influencing skills;
• Committed to larger organizational mission.
• Collaboratively and creatively supports the work efforts of colleagues at all levels and in all areas of the organization.

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