Foster America imagines a different future for child welfare - one in which the nation's brightest minds and greatest talents devote themselves to transforming life outcomes for children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected. 

A Foster America fellowship in partnership with:
St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Human Services, Minnesota 

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 St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Human Services (SLC PHHS), we seek an experienced coalition builder and project manager to help reduce local instances of child abuse and neglect and keep more families safely together. The county government partners with a network of community-based organizations who provide housing, public health, behavioral health, and parenting supports to vulnerable families. The Foster America fellow will engage local families and organization leaders to evaluate and improve on the existing services and design responses to the new federal Family First Prevention Services Act. 

About this Role 

The fellow will leverage skills in design thinking, strategy, and facilitation to bring in family, community, and tribal voices to help prevent child abuse and neglect. The fellow will co-design and drive rapid cycle testing of new ways to serve children and families with diverse community partners. An experienced change leader, s/he will be skilled in stakeholder engagement, with a demonstrated ability to create, implement, and adapt a vision for meeting the needs of families across St. Louis County. The fellow will primarily serve the Children and Family Services (CFS) Division of SLC PHHS. A particular focus will be to assist with the implementation of the new Family First Prevention Services Act wherein financing streams will now allow federal reimbursement for mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home parenting skill training. It also seeks to improve the well-being of children already in foster by incentivizing states to reduce placement of children in congregate care. 

Over the course of 18 months, the fellow will: 

• Develop a framework for direct community engagement and facilitate meaningful participation of community members and nonprofit partners in program planning, design, and testing of service provision. 

• Build consensus and align service delivery around a shared vision for how to support 
families and prevent child abuse or neglect. 

• Develop systems for performance and impact measurement that include ongoing collaboration with community-based organizations and front line staff, emphasizing community and family engagement and collecting real-time feedback. 

• Explore innovative strategies for improving service delivery and collaboration among service providers. 

• Facilitate engagement sessions in a number of distinct communities including the City of Duluth and across Iron Range communities including a focus on strategic engagement in Virginia, Hibbing and Ely. 

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. 

About St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Human Services: 

Located in northeastern Minnesota, St. Louis County is the largest county in Minnesota and is home to diverse communities, with approximately 16% of families in the county with incomes below the poverty line. Known for its natural beauty and resources, St. Louis County is the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior. Our diverse communities range from the metropolitan area of Duluth, our county seat, to small mining towns, and farm regions. Portions of the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa reservation borders are within St. Louis County boundaries. In addition, the Red 
Lake and White Earth Bands of Chippewa Indians have urban offices located in Duluth to serve the many Red Lake and White Earth band members residing in and around St. Louis County. 

With challenges that include a disproportionately high rate of heroin overdoses, and co- occurring substance use disorder and mental health, a significant number of removals are attributed to parental substance use disorder and associated neglect. With these challenges, there is room for great opportunity to innovate as the agency strives to keep children in their homes and in the care of people with whom they have an existing relationship. We partner with families to provide preventative services, supportive resources, interventions and, when necessary, placements to ensure safety, permanency and wellbeing for children. 


• The fellow will build on existing networks and collaborative efforts between county agencies and local service providers, focusing on child welfare outcomes and creating a powerful shared vision. 

• St. Louis County’s large geographic span provides a wide array of diverse opportunities to work across communities on a variety of different priorities. On a daily basis there will be different experiences available for learning, development and the ability to impact outcomes that make a real difference in the lives of children and families. 

• St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services is an innovative agency that encourages creativity and collaborative efforts to build solutions around assessed, data driven needs. 

• Fellow will report directly to executive leadership in the Planning, Resource, and Organizational Development (PROD) unit. This group identifies needs and facilitates change through large and small scale improvements and the development of new resources both within the organization and the greater community. 

• Fellow will be employed by Foster America, with a salary range of $80,000 to $90,000 and full benefits. 


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

Preferred qualifications

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