Jan DeCoursey

Jan DeCoursey

Senior Research Fellow, Chicago, IL

Areas Of Expertise

Education & Certification

AM, Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, BS, Psychology, University of Illinois

Jan DeCoursey, AM, is a senior research fellow in the child welfare research project area at Child Trends. She has over twenty years of experience in research, evaluation, and program operation in the fields of child welfare, transition to adulthood, and youth and adult workforce development. Jan has extensive experience in leadership and management of studies assessing the implementation and effectiveness of human service programs and policies. She is an expert in working with programs to develop and use promising and proven practices, implementation and improvement sciences, and qualitative and mixed methods research. Jan is also principal and owner of Third Coast Research and Development. Her current work focuses on program improvement for both the child welfare system and systems serving transition age youth, including evaluation of a large transition age youth program in California, a study of continuous quality improvement in father engagement in child welfare, a study of post adoption services in Virginia, and a multi-city study of foster youth transitioning to adulthood. Prior to Child Trends, Jan held senior research roles at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and MEF Associates. In her early career, she designed and implemented youth development programs for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the I Have a Dream Foundation in Chicago. Her most important work experience was her role as family educator for a diagnostic, residential youth home. She is currently active as a court appointed special advocate and is serving her second term as a commissioner for her city’s Commission on Youth. Ms. DeCoursey publishes numerous reports and speaks regularly at conferences and convenings on best practice and program improvement in child welfare and the transition to adulthood. She earned her AM from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and her BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.