The Foster America Fellowship is an opportunity to radically improve the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable children by designing and implementing innovative solutions to some of the foster care system’s most complex problems. Fellows apply the skills they have cultivated in other sectors as they transition to full-time, 18-month positions at child welfare and human service agencies. In their roles, fellows focus on high-impact reform projects to create better and more equitable outcomes for children, families, and communities affected by child abuse, neglect, trauma, and poverty. Each role is designed to have an immediate and lasting local impact while also informing solutions that can be scaled nationally. Foster America fellows receive extensive training and professional development with a cohort of peers, positioning them to thrive and grow as social change leaders during the fellowship and beyond. This support includes:
● Cutting-edge training focusing on results-driven leadership, human-centered design,
child welfare context, and more;
● An influential network of purpose-driven, like-minded professionals including fellows,
Foster America staff, and the child welfare field’s most innovative leaders;
● Individualized coaching, mentoring, and support;
● Career development for alumni who pursue leadership positions in child welfare and
● An annual salary of $80,000 to $90,000, plus benefits.
Cohort 4 Recruitment
We are recruiting 12+ extraordinary professionals to join our fourth fellowship cohort, launching in October 2019. Each fellow is matched to a specific role and host agency, aligned with his or her strengths, skills, and expertise. Host sites include Puerto Rico, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Alabama, Maryland, Colorado and Minnesota
1. Strategy and Partnerships
Strategy and Partnerships fellows are skilled planners and implementers. They are capable change leaders, skilled at working across organizational boundaries, with a demonstrated ability to create, implement, and adapt a shared vision. Strategy and Partnerships fellows drive decisions, relying on stakeholder feedback, outcome measures, resource availability or constraints, and organizational context. They have experience managing complex and interdependent projects and teams, with strong communication and relationship-building skills.
Sample projects include:
● Engage Community for Prevention Planning. Prevent child maltreatment and
strengthen families by leading a system-wide coalition to improve access to community
services. Engage public and nonprofit human service providers as well as local partners
such as healthcare professionals and school systems to measurably improve child and
● Drive Rapid, Results-Driven Improvement. Reduce child maltreatment and improve
foster care outcomes by enhancing the jurisdiction’s capacity for innovation and change.
Lead and facilitate cross-functional agency teams as they generate insights, test ideas,
measure results, and improve approaches using micro-experiments. Discover effective
approaches, build the evidence base for what works, and scale impactful practices.
2. Design and Marketing Fellows
Design and Marketing fellows use human-centered design methodologies to improve the experiences and outcomes of children and families involved with the child welfare system. Through qualitative interviews, experience mapping, persona development, and rapid prototyping, these fellows engage with stakeholders including children, parents, current and prospective foster families, caseworkers, service providers, and community-based organizations to understand their perspectives. Together, they design, prototype, and test new approaches that address pain points in the system, streamline processes, deliver consistent messages, and respond to the needs of the child welfare system’s key consumers.
Sample projects include:
● Break the Homelessness Pipeline. Design positive transitions for youth leaving foster
care and help them navigate the pathway to early adulthood, breaking the pipelines from
foster care and juvenile justice-involvement into young adult homelessness. Map the
experiences of young people and build new processes that facilitate their access to
relationships, resources, housing, educational opportunities, and economic stability.
● Engage Foster Parents. Eliminate the shortage of foster parents and ensure that all
children live with families who are prepared to provide loving, high-quality care. Design
new approaches in collaboration with successful foster families to recruit new
caregivers, improve training and licensing processes, and enhance the available
3. Data Analytics and Technology
Data Analytics and Technology fellows recognize that the disruptive and innovative solutions of our modern lives can be adapted and deployed to improve the well-being of vulnerable children and families. They create, manage, and/or analyze large data systems to help child welfare agencies discover insights, understand trends, and create data-driven, results-based solutions. Fellows demonstrate experience and expertise in advanced statistical analysis, predictive analytics, and/or database development. In addition to being quantitatively or technically skilled, these fellows are also adept translators, able to communicate effectively with stakeholders including social workers and non-technical agency leaders.
Sample projects include:
● Launch Predictive Modeling. Drive an agency’s use of predictive modeling to reduce the
rates of child maltreatment, match families with the services that are most likely to work
for them, or target marketing messages to prospective foster parents. Determine
predictive factors and incorporate their use into decision-making.
● Develop Technical Solutions. Set a vision for technological advances by assessing the
current state, developing goals, securing required resources, and driving project
implementation. For example, improve caseworkers’ efficiency through mobile
technology, increase decision-makers’ access to well-visualized data, or develop tools
that track foster home availability or schedule transportation for parental visitation.
● Fellows must have U.S. work authorization.
● Fellows must be able to work full-time for at least 18 months starting in October 2019.
● Fellows must work on-site at their host agency.
● Fellows must travel quarterly to attend training sessions that last from three to five days
and occasionally include weekend flights.
● Fellows must pass any host agency employment requirements, which may include
criminal background checks, drug screening, and civil service examinations.
Compelling Candidates Are:
● Committed to Foster America’s mission of improving the lives of our nation’s most
vulnerable children, families, and communities.
● Experienced professionals, with at least seven years of progressive leadership roles and
an advanced degree (preferred).
● Results-oriented, with a successful track record of leading change.
● Able to engage stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and build effective coalitions.
● Creative in developing unique solutions to complex problems.
● Flexible, adaptable, proactive, and persistent.
● Exceptional writers and verbal communicators.
● Strong project managers.
● Curious and eager learners.
● Humble and self-reflective leaders.