Jennifer O’Brien is a Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. O’Brien provides implementation and capacity building assistance to multiple public and private child welfare agencies across the country. Her work focuses on conducting readiness assessments and developing initial implementation plans for Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA); supporting Title IV-E waiver jurisdictions; selecting and using functional assessments; developing governance structures, data dashboards, implementation plans, data management systems, strategic plans, and business process mapping; collaborating across systems; selecting evidence-based interventions; and training agency staff and stakeholders. O’Brien has also helped design and implement multiple practice models for public and private child welfare institutions.
Prior to joining Chapin Hall, O’Brien was the Director of Clinical Assessment Services at Northwestern University under contract with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ Division of Clinical Services and Professional Development. O’Brien colead the development and implementation of the Integrated Assessment Program that provided a comprehensive assessment for all youth entering foster care. She also developed the statewide Learning Collaborative focused on implementation of a family-centered, trauma-informed, and strength-based model of practice. As Implementation Coordinator of the Illinois Permanency Innovations Initiative (PII), a ten-million dollar federal grant, O’Brien oversaw the implementation of the evidence-based practice Trauma Affect Regulation Guide for Education and Training (TARGET). O’Brien also acted as the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Implementation Coordinator, certifying over 4,000 users throughout Illinois and driving the development of an online assessment center for new hires and recertification.
O’Brien has a Master of Science in Counseling and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Western Illinois University, and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois.
Master of Science in Counseling, Western Illinois University
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Western Illinois University
O’Brien, J. (2017, June). The art & science of systems alignment. Workshop at the Global Implementation Conference, Toronto, Canada.
O’Brien, J. (2016, November). Child welfare application of the DRAFT Functional Assessment Readiness Implementation Tool. Presentation at the 12th Annual TCOM/CANS Conference, Princeton, New Jersey.
*O’Brien, J. (2015, November). Implementation for beginners. Presentation at the Child Demonstration Project Convening for Waiver States and Tribes Focused on County Administered States, Seattle, WA.
*O’Brien, J., & Clapier, B. (2015, November). Measuring well-being. Presentation at the Child Demonstration Project Convening for Waiver States and Tribes Focused on County Administered States, Seattle, WA.
O’Brien, J., & Thomas, K. (2015, November). Beyond the selection of a functional assessment: Approaches to ensuring a meaningful implementation of the CANS. Session at the 11th Annual TCOM/CANS Conference, Seattle, WA.
*O’Brien, J. (2015, June). Partnering to support children: Understanding child well-being. Presentation at Strengthening Outcomes for Families through Cross Collaborations, Chicago, IL.
O’Brien, J., & Whittington-Eskridge, M., (2014, November). CANS demonstration project for supervisors. Session at the 10th Annual TCOM/CANS Conference, Chicago, IL.
*O’Brien, J., & Small, L. (2013, December). Impacting child welfare front-line practice: Implementing the CANS and protective factors into a family-centered, strength-based, trauma-informed child welfare practice model. Presentation for Virginia Child Welfare Delegate, Chicago, IL
*O’Brien, J., & Small, L., (2012, November). Impacting child welfare front-line practice: Implementing the protective factors into a family-centered, strength-based, trauma-informed child welfare practice model. Presentation for Philadelphia DHS Site Visit to Illinois, Chicago, IL
O’Brien, J., & Holzberg, M., (2013, November). A pilot project: Helping supervisors buy-in to the CANS. Session at the 9th Annual CANS Conference, San Francisco, CA.
O’Brien, J., & Steiner, L., (2012, September). Let’s focus on the positive!: Strength-based treatment/service planning in Illinois. Session at the 8th Annual TCOM/CANS Conference, Indianapolis, IN.
O’Brien, J., (2010, April). CANS/ANSA and treatment planning. Session at the 6th Annual TCOM/CANS Conference, Boston, MA.