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 related sectors;
● 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. Specific roles and geographies will be posted throughout the spring; host sites will include Puerto Rico, Indiana, and Minnesota among others. In the meantime, candidates with skills in these categories are encouraged to submit a general application:

1. Strategy and Partnerships
2. Design and Marketing
3. Data Analytics and Technology
4. Public Finance

Candidates who advance in our selection process will have the opportunity to express interest in specific projects and locations.

Role Profiles

1. 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.

2. 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 family outcomes.
  • 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.
3. 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 supports.

4. Public Finance
Public Finance fellows recognize the potential of thoughtful fiscal strategy to drive innovative policies and provide resources for vulnerable children and families. They analyze public funding opportunities established via legislation, design new processes and build a culture of data-driven decision making, linking outcome measurement with financial records to understand which investments work best to support children and families. Fellows demonstrate experience and expertise in advanced fiscal analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and/or financial modeling. In addition to being quantitatively or technically skilled, these fellows are also adept translators, building shared commitment to directing resources to the most impactful interventions.

Sample projects include:
● Deinstitutionalize Children in Foster Care. Return children from institutional and group foster placement settings to their families and communities by supporting public and nonprofit agencies in conducting financial analysis to drive policy change. Partner with agencies as they develop new capacity, change their business models, and create new cost-effective approaches to serving children and families who have experienced complex and intense trauma.
● Integrate Cross-System Data. Scope, drive, and oversee the development of integrated data and financial systems, collaborating with other public and nonprofit agencies to develop, adapt, and connect their infrastructure and lay the foundation for further analytic and technological advances. Help decision-makers understand children and families in greater context by uniting fiscal policy with child welfare, education, health, fiscal and other data sources.

How to Apply
Applications are accepted online, via


  • Location:
    United States
    Fellowship opportunities in Indiana, Minnesota, Maine, Alabama, Michigan, Puerto Rico, and Maryland
  • Salary:
  • Deadline:


Minimum qualifications

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 any host agency employment requirements, which may include criminal background checks, drug screening, and civil service examinations.

Preferred qualifications

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.