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Child Welfare Research Intern (PhD candidate) (Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population)

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.


Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.


Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity


For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit


The Opportunity:

Central to Urban’s mission is fostering a truly inclusive community that ensures ongoing relevance to a changing world. The Urban Institute’s Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population is seeking a PhD candidate summer intern to support research studies related to child welfare system programs and policies. Candidates will help inform child welfare policy and practices through their contributions to research.


What You’ll Do:

  • Conduct background research and compile evidence on emerging topics
  • Conduct literature reviews, create annotated bibliographies, and synthesize key findings
  • Contribute to product development, including basic editing and formatting, creating data tables and figures, and compiling reference lists
  • Support proposal development activities as needed
  • Support study recruitment and data collection activities as needed
  • Complete quick turnaround requests to support efforts of child welfare/foster care research team


Who You Are:

  • The successful candidate will:
  • Be working toward a PhD in Public Policy, Social Work, Public Health, or related social science field
  • Respect diverse perspectives and value collaborating with colleagues to create a mutually respectful work environment
  • Demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills
  • Have experience with various research methods, such as conducting literature reviews and supporting primary data collection (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, or observations)
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; experience with quantitative data analysis software (e.g., STATA, SAS, SPSS, R) and/or qualitative analysis is an advantage but not required


Program Highlights:

  • 10-week paid internship; full-time preferred but strong candidates will be considered for part-time positions
  • Internship program designed to provide students interested in research, public policy issues and organizational operations with rewarding and substantive work assignments that contribute to Urban’s mission
  • Intern Program Dates: June 10-August 16
  • Participate in our new intern “welcome” orientation
  • Network with operations staff, senior professionals, and others who will support your professional growth and career interests
  • Participate in intern-specific workshops and networking events designed to advance your professional development and build your soft skills
  • Engage in team-building activities that forge new friendships with other Urban interns
  • Receive informal feedback and mentoring from your intern manager
  • Present the value of your contribution and what you learned during our end of summer Lightning Talks


What you’ll experience:

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.


Urban’s greatest asset is our people.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The Urban Institute is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law. The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.

We are committed to equal employment opportunity and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with physical and/or mental disabilities. If you have a physical and/or mental disability and are interested in applying for employment and need special accommodations to use our website to apply for a position, please contact Human Resources at  Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.