Associate Director/Young Children and their Families

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is recruiting an Associate Director to lead its work related to improving life outcomes for young children and their families.

The position will be based at CSSP’s offices in Washington, D.C.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, CSSP is a nonprofit public policy and technical assistance organization. CSSP’s work is directed to securing equal opportunities and better futures for all children and families, especially those most often left behind.

CSSP strives to accomplish its mission by developing and advancing effective public policy; helping to transform public systems to be more preventive, results-oriented, accountable and caring; and supporting local leaders to create the community opportunities, supports, services and environments in which children and families can thrive. CSSP works in partnership with national organizations, foundations and governmental and community leaders to test new ideas and approaches, provide technical assistance, generate new evidence and support networks of innovators.

All of our work reflects a long-standing organizational commitment to equity and social justice and to addressing historical barriers to full opportunities for people based on race, class, sovereignty, gender, sexual orientation and gender identify, immigration status, and other factors.
CSSP’s Work to Improve Outcomes for Young Children and their Families
CSSP’s Young Children and their Families (YCF) team combines a focus on policy, systems reform and community change. Our work actively promotes the development and spread of effective, comprehensive local early childhood systems. Through cities and counties in the Early Childhood – LINC network (Learning and Innovation Network for Communities), CSSP works in partnership with local leaders to put in place the opportunities, services, supports and community conditions that help young children and their families thrive. Together, the network develops and tests strategies to address emerging and persistent challenges for families with young children.
In all of its YCF work, CSSP:

  • Addresses child well-being in the context of family and community
  • Focuses on parents and family members as the central figures in a young child’s life and promotes parents’ roles as agents of change in their communities
  • Cuts across the disciplines of health and public health, early care and education and family support, as well as economic well-being, housing, community safety and the built environment
  • Combines attention to the central role of parent-child relationships and protective and promotive factors for strong families with equal attention to the social determinants of health that contribute to family and community well-being
  • Helps to create preventive, developmentally-focused environments designed to help all children succeed, while simultaneously paying close attention to those children most likely to face barriers to healthy development
  • Focuses on developing strong federal, state and local policy as well as systems, programs and practices
  • Sustains close partnership with other national organizations, state and local leaders and the public and philanthropic sectors

Current YCF project activities include a multi-jurisdiction effort to address and mitigate sources of toxic stress in young children; testing pediatric care-based interventions that can promote the socioemotional development and well-being of young children within a broader community systems context; laying the groundwork for a national campaign to promote Early Learning Communities across the country; assisting Head Start and child care providers and leaders to engage and support parent, family and community stakeholders; continuing CSSP’s long-standing partnership with the national Strengthening Families network; and developing community-level strategies for working at the intersection of early childhood and community violence prevention.

Job Description

CSSP seeks an Associate Director who can lead our team of skilled staff to expand the reach and impact of CSSP’s YCF work and achieve CSSP’s mission. This is a senior executive position within CSSP, with responsibilities for:

  • Helping to provide overall leadership to CSSP in accomplishing its mission, broad goals and commitment to equity
  • Serve on the CSSP management team, help set organizational goals and directions, ensure that CSSP’s equity commitment is realized throughout the organization’s work, assure that staff are empowered and supported, and share responsibility for CSSP’s budget
  • Setting a vision and strategic plan for CSSP’s work related to young children and their families (YCF)
  • Define and refine the desired results of CSSP’s work related to young children and families, within CSSP’s theory of change
  • Develop and implement an overall strategic direction and plan for this work
  • Develop and sustain a high performing team with commitment and expertise to implement the YCF strategic direction and plan
  • Continually scan the fields, context and environments affecting the well-being of young children and families and identify how CSSP can best contribute to knowledge and innovative policy, systems and community solutions
  • Create and sustain relationships with other national organizations and networks to further impact of our work toward common goals
  • Ensure coherence and cumulative impact among CSSP’s multiple YCF projects and activities, and that YCF activities are integrated with CSSP’s other bodies of work
  • Organizational and project management and accountability
  • Maintain overall responsibility for the quality, timeliness, influence and impact of CSSP’s YCF work
  • Help managers who are leading CSSP’s YCF work to develop their own leadership and accountability skills
  • Policy development
  • Working collaboratively with CSSP’s Policy Team, help lead CSSP’s efforts to create effective federal, state and local policy affecting young children and families
  • Craft with CSSP policy staff and community and state partners a YCF policy agenda that is responsive to field-based priorities and cuts across multiple sectors and domains
  • Strengthen and broaden partnerships with a national network of individuals and organizations that can inform, develop and implement a collaborative agenda on policy and public finance affecting young children and their families
  • Resource development
  • Identify and develop the funding and other resources required to support CSSP’s YCF work
  • Organizational culture, spirit and talent development
  • Support staff involved in YCF work in the growth and use of their skills, experience, diversity and leadership
  • Contribute to a culture of teamwork, accountability and joy in the work among the YCF team and throughout the organization
  • Evidence and research development
  • nsure that YCF work is grounded in a broad and inclusive approach to evidence, recommending strategies for further research and evidence generation as appropriate


Critical Leadership Skills and Knowledge Needed for this Position

Applicants should have a minimum of 10 years of progressive leadership experience in leading public or non-profit organizations and/or in implementing or managing complex community or systems change processes. Skills and knowledge that are essential and/or particularly valuable for this position include:

  • Deep expertise in several – and general knowledge of all – of the substantive areas essential for supporting strong families and communities and contributing to successful outcomes for young children. Particular emphasis will be given to skills/experience in the areas of poverty reduction (building on CSSP’s long history in this area); health and public health (building on growing work in these fields); early care and education; family support; protective/promotive factors that contribute to strong families, and other aspects of the growing scientific knowledge about the developing brains of young children; and family and resident leadership, engagement and promotion of constituent voice.
  • Broad knowledge of the public policies, funding and programs that can most contribute to (or impede) the full and healthy development of young children and of strong families
  • Strong grounding in the ways in which communities can advance change and improve the conditions in which young children and families can thrive
  • Understanding of the historical and current patterns of structural and institutional racism, accompanied by commitment to and experience in developing strategies to achieve equitable results across racial and ethnic groups and/or through cross-racial coalitions
  • Demonstrated leadership skills, as evidenced by progressively responsible leadership over at least ten years within public or private organizations, including experience in selecting, motivating and supervising people who can take leadership roles in the future
  • Experience in managing and/or providing technical assistance in community settings
  • Strong writing skills and skills in oral presentation, as evidenced by experience in presenting workshops, papers and/or other speaking roles in public settings
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain partnerships and relationships among national organizations and diverse stakeholders, including federal, state and local public and private agencies and philanthropic partners
  • Interest and prior experience in systems of accountability and results-based approaches to achieving child, family and community well-being


Compensation and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits including short- and long-term disability, life insurance, health insurance and retirement benefits. Generous vacation, sick, and holiday leave schedules provided. CSSP is an equal opportunity employer and strongly believe that our organization and our work benefit from the experiences and perspectives of a diverse staff. Qualified applicants should send resume, cover letter, salary requirements and a writing sample by February 24, 2017 to (subject: Associate Director, YCF)
The position will remain open until filled.