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About Spark

April Allen 

April Allen, PhD, MPA, is a forward-thinking and forward-looking changemaker with a passion for using data to transform systems that serve children, youth, and families. She is the Founder and CEO of Spark Learning for Organizations LLC, dedicated to supporting human services organizations with community-engaged research, performance measurement, and organizational learning that builds data competence. Her professional life includes senior roles in research, government, and nonprofit settings, unified by a dedication to working across systems to meet family needs. A substantial portion of her research agenda has focused on the experiences of children involved with the child welfare system, informed by her own experiences as a child in care.

Dr. Allen’s proudest accomplishments include convening and building the capacity of communities to translate data into action. She launched Amplify Action Research, an initiative that trains and empowers people with lived experience to be the authors and leaders of the research, evaluation, and performance measurement that will drive critical system change in child welfare and related human services systems. 

In addition to her national consulting practice, Dr. Allen is a Visiting Research Scholar at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management and a Founding Partner of Breakthrough Convenings, a boutique firm that provides virtual and blended facilitation services to high-impact organizations seeking to connect their people, move their work forward, and deepen their impact. 


Dr. Allen's research and policy expertise has been recognized with national awards, including the Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (as a member of the I-PASS Study Group) and a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. She holds a PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University.

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