Esther Gross is a technical assistance specialist and racial equity expert at Child Trends. Her work focuses on ensuring that social science research and evaluation are informed by the people they impact. For several years, she has led, designed, and facilitated conversations and trainings on equity. She brings a social justice lens to her work by placing findings in the context of systemic discrimination and inequality.
Esther recently developed a training on how to communicate research findings equitably for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE). Her trainings have also been shared with the Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium and the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers. Within Child Trends, she partnered with HR to develop a mentoring program where researchers with marginalized identities can connect with others with similar experiences.
She has supported several evaluations by leading focus groups and analyzing findings, including an evaluation of New York state’s efforts to increase recruitment and retention of foster/adoptive parents and a pilot evaluation of Los Angeles County’s efforts to recruit and engage relatives to provide life-long connections and support to children living in foster care. This work is also supported by Esther’s strong project management skills and experience. She has served as the project director for 3 multi-year projects that brought in approximately $500,000 annually combined. Esther is proud to be a member of the 2020 cohort of the American Express NGen Fellows program.
Esther has expertise in child welfare policy; financing; and state-level implementation, having produced several sets of state resources on child maltreatment, foster care, adoption, relative caregiving, and child welfare financing. Her personal experience growing up in foster care and volunteer work as a court appointed special advocate provide her with a perspective that is sometimes missing in research.