Senior Policy Analyst/Project Director | Mental and Behavioral Health


The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)—founded nearly 50 years ago in Washington, D.C.—is a nonpartisan, nonprofit anti-poverty organization advancing federal, state, and local policy solutions for low-income people. We view all of our work through a racial equity lens, addressing the barriers people face because of race, ethnicity, and immigration status. Low-income people are under greater threat than at any time in CLASP’s history, making our work more urgent than ever.

CLASP is seeking a senior policy analyst/project director to lead our newly expanded focus on improving mental and behavioral health services for low-income people. The successful candidate will manage a new multi-year initiative to help select states strengthen and/or transform their Medicaid, mental health, and human services policies to promote high-quality mental health prevention and treatment services for low-income families who are experiencing maternal depression as well as youth/young adults. This initiative reflects the urgency of these issues for low-income families and young people, the opportunity for major improvements as a result of the Affordable Care Act and particularly Medicaid expansion, and the interest both state officials, advocates, and practitioners in practical solutions. 

The successful candidate will bring project management skills to lead this new initiative in partnership with CLASP colleagues (particularly those on our income and work supports, child care, and youth policy teams) and outside advisors. The candidate should also have expertise in mental health and Medicaid policy as well as a passion for helping low-income people.

While we expect work on this project to be well over half time, we anticipate that the successful candidate will also add expertise to other advocacy and technical assistance activities related to behavioral health.

SUPERVISOR: Kisha Bird, Director of Youth Policy.


  • Provide strategic leadership to design all aspects of the initiative, in partnership with colleagues at CLASP, peer organizations, and other stakeholders. 
  • Manage the project’s work plan and day-to-day operations, including:
    • Coordinating internal resources, policy and administrative staff, consultants and advisors;
    • Developing project work plans and objectives;
    • Effectively involving all relevant stakeholders (internal and external) in key decisions;
    • Tracking progress and supporting effective implementation; and
    • Managing the project budget, in close collaboration with the deputy director of finance and administration. 
  • Ensure the project’s components, participants, and partners are on the same page and ensure regular and close communication and coordination among partners and the funders. 
  • Provide expertise on mental health and Medicaid policy issues.
  • Provide support, coordination, and content expertise. This includes helping to develop the selection process, criteria, and proposals for states and local partners. It also includes state policy scans, papers, briefings, convenings, presentations, and web materials.
  • Plan, develop, and provide technical assistance and support to state and local partners.
  • Write papers, how-to materials for states, commentaries or blogs, and other products as appropriate.
  • Present or co-present to state officials; national experts; funders; and state, local, and community advocates and innovators.
  • Oversee administrative systems, such as files, web pages, scheduling, work plan documents, reporting requirements, etc.;
  • Supervise a junior staff person providing logistical and administrative support.
  • Identify new opportunities for policy advocacy at the state or federal level based on insights from the initiative and on broader knowledge about  Medicaid, mental health, and human services policies. 
  • Actively participate and exercise a significant leadership role within CLASP, including serving as an internal resource on mental and behavioral health policy.
  • Lead CLASP’s advocacy in the identified area(s), including conducting policy analysis, identifying promising policy options, writing papers and commentaries, providing presentations and briefings, and assessing strengths and weaknesses of policy and legislative proposals.
  • Participate as a leader and partner in strategic thinking about the most high-impact areas for CLASP’s advocacy, both within the youth team and across CLASP.
  • Participate and play a leadership role in outside meetings, coalitions, and networks.


  • Demonstrated commitment to improving the circumstances of vulnerable and low-income people, immigrants, and communities of color.
  • The successful candidate will have a breadth of understanding about federal and/or state mental and behavioral health policy and related provisions in Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Knowledge and experience in at least one of our focus areas—youth/young adult development, child development, maternal depression, and family services—is a plus but not required.
  • Demonstrated capacity to lead and manage a large-scale initiative with multiple stakeholders and partners, including experience developing a work plan, setting strategic direction, and incorporating consultation from partners and advisors. 
  • Demonstrated ability to build strong external and internal relationships and work effectively as part of a team is required.  Existing relationships, networks, and experience working with mental health advocates, Medicaid advocates, or state policymakers in health, mental health, or human services is highly valued.
  • Ability to identify, understand, and develop responses to technical assistance needs, including translating policy ideas to states and local communities and disseminating best practices.
  • Capacity to work both independently and collaboratively as part of a team, with a drive to contribute original work. Supervisory experience is desirable but not required.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, take responsibility, and strategically manage multiple, complex tasks with many participants.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Master’s degree in public policy/administration, social work, public health, or other relevant field or a law degree is required, along with at least 5-7 years of relevant work experience.

SALARY:  Salary is commensurate with experience.  CLASP offers exceptional benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, life and long-term disability insurance, long-term care insurance, a 403(b) retirement program, flexible spending accounts, and generous vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules.

APPLICATION:  Please send your resume and cover letter by email to Reference senior policy analyst/project director, mental and behavioral health in the subject line.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  NO PHONE CALLS, PLEASE. The Center for Law and Social Policy is an equal opportunity employer, and people of color are encouraged to apply.