Role: National Authority Consultant
Areas of Expertise: Workforce improvement strategies, organizational culture, systems change
Years of Child Welfare Experience: 29
At the Center, Michelle Graef, Ph.D., is a consultant and subject matter expert focusing on workforce improvement strategies, organizational culture, and systems change. Dr. Graef is currently the Principal Investigator and Project Director for the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (QIC-WD), funded by the Children’s Bureau. The QIC-WD is working with eight state and tribal child welfare agency sites to design, implement, and rigorously evaluate an array of evidence-informed workforce strategies and interventions.
Previously, Dr. Graef was the Principal Investigator of a comprehensive, multiyear program evaluation of Nebraska’s Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration (2014–2019). Recently, Dr. Graef served as the coprincipal investigator and associate director of the Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center, a 5-year cooperative agreement funded by the Children’s Bureau (2008–2014). In this role, she worked with states and tribes in a 10-state region to provide technical assistance and evaluation and to facilitate peer-to-peer support to achieve systems change. She designed and delivered technical assistance services to four statewide, multiyear systems change initiatives to improve the quality and effectiveness of child welfare services. These changes were focused on organizational culture, administration, and direct practice with children and families.
Earlier in her career, Dr. Graef directed a team responsible for job analysis, training needs assessment, training program evaluation, and the development and validation of competencies for all child welfare and juvenile parole workers in the state of Nebraska (1992–2008). She led the design, validation, and implementation of innovative research-based systems for the selection and performance management of child welfare staff. Finally, she provided methodological and analytic consultation to a number of large-scale child protective services case file reviews for quality assurance purposes.
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