Deirdre O’Connor, MSW, LCSW, is NCCD's associate director for strategic initiatives, based in Washington, DC. Deirdre has experience working with child welfare, juvenile justice, and criminal justice systems. Since joining NCCD in 2004, Deirdre partnered with numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States and internationally to improve child protection systems and practice. Her projects include developing, implementing, and evaluating a structured screening assessment; developing an enhanced practice model for child protection hotline workers and supervisors; developing and implementing continuous quality improvement processes for child protection agencies; and partnering with a Native American tribe to implement Structured Decision Making® system assessments for child protection. Each project has involved extensive analysis of local, state, and applicable federal or national statutes, as well as understanding the community and public context in which the agency operates. Deirdre has more than 20 years’ child welfare experience and an extensive understanding of federal child welfare funding, regulations, and oversight.
Deirdre’s justice work includes several federally funded projects. She currently leads NCCD's Social Innovation Fund Pay for Success project, directing technical assistance to three jurisdictions across the country to test Pay for Success feasibility in their juvenile justice systems. As lead staff for the Attorney General’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, a project funded by the US Department of Justice, Deirdre led a team to produce four national two-day hearings in different locations that covered the critical subtopics of family violence, community violence, sexual violence, peer violence and bullying, witnessing violence, historical trauma, and the impacts of trauma on the developing brain. Additionally, Deirdre developed and managed a grant-making program for the National PREA Resource Center, funded through a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Justice Assistance and NCCD. This competitive grant program made funds available to local agencies for the implementation of significant new federal regulation. Deirdre provided support and technical assistance to many of the 43 successful applicants, monitoring more than $4.8 million in grant-funded activities.
Deirdre holds a BA in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and an MSW from Loyola University of Chicago.