Liz Harris joined NCCD as a senior researcher in 2017. She began her career in 1994 in nonprofit development, public relations, and strategic planning. In 2002, she joined the City of Alameda’s Community and Economic Development unit, where she was responsible for conducting and analyzing community needs assessments to inform the City’s allocation of community development funding. During that job, she became interested in learning more about how rigorous research can inform jurisdictions’ ability to more effectively address the social and economic needs of their residents. She returned to school and ultimately earned a PhD in sociology, with an emphasis on families and education, from Washington State University.
Most recently, she worked for five years with the City and County of San Francisco’s Child Welfare department as a senior data/research analyst. In that role, she helped lead an initiative to coach and support supervisors, managers, and executives in using data to plan, implement, and evaluate child welfare practice strategies and programs. She also did research on a range of child welfare topics. Her exploration of the effects of CalWORKS subsidies on child welfare reunification outcomes led the county to set up a pilot program to make sure that CalWORKS services and funding are maintained for all eligible parents whose children have been placed into the foster care system. She also helped to lead a federally funded, three-year randomized control trial study, in partnership with Child Trends and the Seneca Family of Agencies, to measure the effect of family engagement on child welfare outcomes. Most recently, she did research to assess the county’s progress towards meeting its Title IV-E waiver implementation goals, with a focus on assessing staff and supervisors’ fidelity to the principles of safety-organized practice.