Foster America Fellowship

Foster America - Boston, Massachusetts - Full time

About the Organization

Foster America fellows leverage their diverse professional backgrounds as they assume leadership roles at child welfare agencies, improving outcomes for our nation’s most vulnerable children and families. In partnership with the jurisdictions named below, we seek skilled technologists, strategists, and/or human-centered designers to improve the systems that match children who enter foster care with caretakers in their extended families or local communities.

In each jurisdiction, one or more fellow(s) will help the agency to strategically recruit, support, and retain prospective foster families that best meet the needs of children in care today -- families that can keep them in their schools, communities, and cultures. Fellows will design data-driven, human-centered innovations and develop new tools and resources to solve for the unique challenges and opportunities of each jurisdiction. The fellow will be skilled at building systems, structures, and staff capacity to create a positive experience for foster and kinship resource families. The most successful approaches will blend policy, practice, and technology solutions to achieve ambitious outcomes for children and families.

About this Role

When children must live in foster care, they need the love and support of strong, committed, and well-prepared foster parents. Today, many places face a shortage of such families, often resulting in placements in group homes or in placements that create distance between children and their families and communities of origin. But, we know that when children are served in family settings and communities closest to their birth families, they are most likely to reunify with those families. The focus of this fellowship will be to work with agencies and their community partners to identify and increase the supply of the most needed foster family resources. Relying on human-centered design, data and analysis, and technologist skills, the fellow(s) will work with foster families and prospective foster families to map and address the pain points in the current system that recruits, prepares, and supports them, ultimately improving outcomes for children and families.

This will be the first cohort working together on the same challenge across multiple states. Fellows will be in close contact with one another to share insights, best practices, and lessons learned to accelerate progress across their sites while respecting and adapting to the unique needs of their state. Fellows with complementary skill sets (e.g. data science and human-centered design) will benefit from collaborating with one another to extend the breadth of their successes. Through a partnership with the Beeck Center at Georgetown, the best practices identified and developed by the fellows will be captured in a playbook for use by even more states and partners.

Specific projects will be co-designed with jurisdictions, but over the course of 18 months, the fellow may:

  • Use data analytics and micro-targeting to identify hot-spots of need and opportunities to recruit resource families.
  • Develop messages and materials that resonate with prospective foster parents and test new approaches to foster parent recruitment.
  • Develop tracking systems to ease and speed the process of licensing resource families, especially for relative placements.
  • Create engaging experiences that help families develop their caregiving skills as they pursue licensure.
  • Design technical solutions to strengthen placement choice and matching.
  • Propose or design tech tools to provide support and increase retention of family resources.
  • Develop their colleagues’ capacity to effectively recruit, support, and retain foster families.
  • Track results and use data to inform recruitment and retention strategies and priorities.

About the Fellowship

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, racial equity, innovation, 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 related sectors.

Highlights

  • The fellow will have the opportunity to design creative solutions to family finding, recruitment, and support of kinship placements in ways that will improve the lived experience of children across the state.
  • The diverse needs of urban and rural communities will require active engagement of stakeholders and creative solutions to dramatically increase the number of resource families for children in foster care.
  • Fellow will report directly to executive leadership
  • Fellow will be employed by Foster America, with a salary range of $80,000 to $90,000 and full benefits.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 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 all host agency and employer requirements, which may include criminal background checks, drug screening, and civil service examinations.

Compelling Candidates Are

  • Committed to our 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

How to Apply

Applications are accepted online via www.foster-america.org/apply and reviewed on a rolling basis through early August, 2019. Early application is advantageous to candidates and strongly encouraged.

Information about our application process, selection timeline, and other open fellowship opportunities is available on our website at https://www.foster-america.org/application- process/.

To learn more about the fellowship, join a webinar! You will learn more about Foster America, hear from a current fellow about their experience, and be able to ask questions. To see the schedule of webinars, see www.foster-america.org/webinars.

Please direct any additional questions by email to recruit@foster-america.org.

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Role

Operations

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Mid Level

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