Our Staff
Deirdre O'Connor

Deirdre O'Connor

Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives

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.

Recent publications from Deirdre O'Connor:

Danielle Stewart, Communications Coordinator, NCCD

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) is proud to partner with Third Sector Capital Partners to pioneer the new frontier of Pay for Success financing in California human services. The California Endowment has awarded Third Sector and NCCD a $250,000 grant to undertake Pay for Success feasibility assessments in two California counties in the fields of child welfare and juvenile restorative justice.

Deirdre O’Connor, Senior Program Specialist, NCCD

Caring for children who have been traumatized by violence requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, patience, and support. The Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Task Force acknowledged this in the breadth and scope of their recommendations released late last year. In our role providing technical assistance to the task force, NCCD staff had the opportunity to learn from many individuals who are dedicated to helping children heal from experiencing and witnessing violence. One universal theme that emerged was the importance of involving caregivers in children’s healing processes.

Kristen Johnson, PhD
Moderated by Deirdre O'Connor

Maryland’s Social Services Administration sought to ensure reliable decision making among workers screening allegations of child maltreatment for further investigation by 1) developing a structured screening and response time assessment; 2) implementing the assessment statewide after piloting its use in a metropolitan region; and 3) evaluating the impact of implementation on screening decisions. Evaluation activities included reliability testing of the assessment, a qualitative review of screening decisions conducted before and after implementation of the assessment, and a survey of workers about the assessment and its implementation. Findings showed that the screening and response time assessment helped workers reach reliable decisions given the same information, and in combination with other decision supports, improved workers’ case narrative explaining screening and response time decisions.