Samantha Opong is a program specialist with the SMART Office in the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Ms. Opong manages SMART Office grant programs, which include the Adam Walsh Implementation Act grant program and the National Sex Offender Public Website grant program. In addition to managing grants, she also works closely with the senior policy advisors assisting states with the implementation of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Prior to joining the SMART Office, Ms. Opong served as a Professional Staff Member for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In this capacity, Ms. Opong assisted with hearing preparations through analytical research, written reports, and the coordination of logistics. She also worked as a staffer in a congressional office where she developed and advanced legislation regarding social issues; making policy recommendations based on her experiences as a social worker. She organized panel discussions that centered on the correlation between youth mental health and violence.
Ms. Opong is a social worker who has worked with homeless families, and victims of child and sexual abuse for more than nine years. Her work encompasses both direct services and policy formation. Ms. Opong began her career as a case manager for a homeless shelter in New York, where she specifically worked with children who were victims of sexual abuse. She has developed educational programs for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Additionally, while working at a homeless shelter, Ms. Opong developed an aftercare program that helped former homeless families adjust and reintegrate into society, lessening their rate of recidivism.
Ms. Opong earned a B.A. in Sociology from the State University at Stony Brook and a Master of Social Work from Howard University.