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2017 YEAR IN REVIEW


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AT FOSTER AMERICA, OUR MISSION IS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF AMERICA’S MOST VULNERABLE CHILDREN BY BUILDING A PIPELINE OF LEADERS AND INNOVATORS TO HELP TRANSFORM THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

Foster America has developed a fellowship program to build a pipeline of extraordinary leaders with the diverse skills needed to improve the lives of kids in foster care and families at risk of abuse or neglect, who are served by the child welfare system. The program recruits, trains, and supports talented professionals from business, technology, health, and education backgrounds for high-impact fellowship roles at child welfare agencies. In the short run, Foster America fellows lead reform projects at these agencies, leveraging their professional expertise to develop new approaches to major child welfare challenges. Each fellowship project is designed to have a lasting local impact, while also informing scalable solutions for the child welfare sector. In the long run, Foster America’s goal is to build a national movement of fellowship alumni who will move on to higher levels of leadership and help transform the child welfare system.

Contents 3 4 6 8 10 12 13 16

Letter of Thanks Our Approach Cohort 1 Spotlights Cohort 2 Recruitment & Selection 2017 Highlights Continued Growth Collaborators About Child Welfare


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Dear Friends, Just last November, Foster America welcomed our first cohort of eight fellows to full-time positions at the Allegheny County (PA) Department of Human Services, the Administration for Children’s Services in New York City, and the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families. They have now celebrated a full year of fellowship service, and we are preparing to launch a second cohort of Foster America fellows in New York City, Pittsburgh, and five new sites in January 2018. We are particularly grateful to our courageous first cohort of fellows, who were willing to join us at the start of our journey. They have each made incredible contributions at their host agencies, including developing a predictive analytics model, recruiting critically needed foster parents, and reducing the number of families awaiting supportive services to prevent abuse or neglect. The fellows’ experiences and feedback have also been essential for the continued improvement of our model and our readiness to expand our program to more fellows and agency partners. It has been a year of learning for all of us at Foster America. At our quarterly convenings in Boston, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC, our fellows met with national thought leaders in child welfare policy and practice, including current and former agency leaders, policymakers, and philanthropists. We have explored the use of design thinking to address the often bureaucratic challenges of child welfare administration and challenged our thinking on issues of institutional racism and implicit bias. We are tremendously grateful for the support of so many friends and partners who have made this year possible. This report is too short to name them all, but we would like to recognize a few of our major collaborators who have built Foster America with us from the ground up. Casey Family Programs has been a supporter from the beginning, providing both funding and expert advice to help us grow. The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation has similarly invested countless hours and resources in our development. McKinsey’s pro bono consulting has accelerated our strategic thinking, and Akin Gump has provided pro bono counsel on our 501(c)(3) and trademark applications. The Center for the Study of Social Policy incubated us and contributed deep expertise. Halcyon provided us with guidance and free office space. The Tides Center has served as our fiscal sponsor. Our Advisory Board provides sage counsel at every turn, and Edgility has been an essential partner in the recruitment of prospective fellows. We are grateful to our families and friends for their support during our start-up year. Finally, we especially appreciate our partners at the child welfare agencies who employ the Foster America fellows and join us in seeking to improve outcomes for our nation’s most vulnerable children and families. Looking ahead to 2018, in addition to celebrating our newest cohort of fellows, we will welcome a new Board of Directors, continue to grow our program, and experiment with new strategies to expand our impact. Thank you for joining us on this journey. We look forward to sharing these milestones with you. Best wishes on behalf of our whole team,

Sherry Lachman Executive Director

Marie Zemler Wu Deputy Director


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Our Theory of Change Child welfare agencies need leadership teams with the diverse skills to drive reform projects that benefit children and families. Foster America recruits & supports the talented professionals who can help deliver on this vision. •

1

Public & nonprofit agencies offer: • Reform-minded teams • High-impact projects • Resources to succeed

Partner with Host Sites

3

Fellows use specialized skills to target: • Abuse & neglect prevention • Foster parent recruitment • Child welfare workforce • Cross-system collaboration

Accelerate Reform Build a Movement Train & Support Fellows

Recruit & Select Fellows Mid-career talent selected from: • Business • Technology • Education • Public Health

2

CULTIVATION

We provide: • Pre-service training • Coaching • Mentorship • Connection to cohort and national experts

4

FELLOWSHIP

Over time, transform the child welfare system with: • Alumni • Partners • Innovations that scale

5

ALUMNI


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Fellowship Support Model Foster America provides the essential supports so that fellows can be effective in their work. •

METHOD

CONTENT

TARGET

PURPOSE

OUTCOME

We support fellows by delivering:

They grow in knowledge & abilities:

Preparing them to align their contributions:

Focusing across the curriculum & fellowship experience to:

To make a measureable difference:

Pre-service Training Quarterly Convenings Learning Cohort Online Community Mentorship & Advising

Child Welfare Context

Spur Innovation

Professional Development As a

Design Thinking

person, holding a

role,

Organizational Change

within a

system.

Challenge Inequity

Achieve Results for Vulnerable Children Complete short-term projects Contribute to a long-term movement


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Cohort 1 Spotlights Each of the Foster America fellows has made a tremendous impact in the first year of placement at one of our three original partner agencies. Here, we share three examples of how our fellows have applied their skills from other sectors to drive positive results in child welfare. Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Emily Ianacone

Cohort 1 host agencies

Prior to joining Foster America, Emily Ianacone spent over a decade working in advertising and human-centered design. At Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services, she leveraged her expertise to help the department pursue its goal of improving the client experience of the kids and families it serves. For example, Emily teamed up with her department colleagues to improve the accessibility and efficacy of drug treatment programs for families who are involved in the child welfare system.


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Rhode Island Department of Children & Families

Adam Williams

With a background in business, marketing and journalism, Adam Williams helped Rhode Island address its critical shortage of foster families. He enhanced supports to relatives serving as foster parents and helped launch a foster parent recruitment campaign. He is improving the agency’s customer service approach for prospective and current foster families to increase their retention, focusing specifically on relative caregivers, families in high-need geographies, and LGBTQ+ friendly environments.

New York City Administration for Children’s Services

Leila Pree

Leila Pree helped ACS apply a racial equity lens to the predictive analytics portfolio that the agency uses to identify which families are at greatest risk of abuse and neglect. She also is developing a new statistical model to predict which children are at the highest risk of staying in foster care for long periods or aging out of the system, so that the agency can intervene earlier to help these kids get adopted or reunite with their families. Leila has been recognized as an in emerging leader in the child welfare sector and was invited to present on ACS’ work at a national convening hosted by the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare.


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Cohort 2 Recruitment & Selection

Cohort 1 fellows present on a panel during one of our Selection Day events at the Halcyon Incubator space in Washington, DC.

Selection Day interviews with external partners included a written memo discussion, analytical case, and group role play scenario.


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A total of 300 candidates entered the 2017 recruitment process for our second cohort of fellows. After completing an initial application and phone screen, qualified candidates were interviewed by our team and external program partners with expertise in related sectors. The rigorous application process continued with an in-person Selection Day, where top candidates completed a set of casebased interviews, including a written memo and discussion, analytic case, and group role play. These evaluations were carefully designed to assess candidates’ qualifications against four key competencies: brilliance, creativity, influence, and persistence. Selection Day interviews were conducted with external judges from organizations that have provided us with extensive pro bono support, including Casey Family Programs, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, McKinsey, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Arnold Foundation, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Deloitte, Salesforce, Fostering Change Network, New America, and more. Our host agency partners conducted final interviews with prospective matches and made job offers, resulting in a final selectivity rate of 4% for our second cohort. We are grateful to our executive search partner, Edgility, and the many supporters and volunteers who dedicated more than 350 hours to recruitment activities with us.

Steps of the comprehensive fellowship recruitment and selection process.


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Foster America 2017 Highlights

First Cohort 1 fellowship convening in Pittsburgh, PA with sessions on child welfare financing and site visits with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and Youth Support Partners.

COHORT 1 CONVENING MARCH

FEBRUARY

COHORT 2 RECRUITMENT Cohort 2 recruitment launches in partnership with Edgility executive search firm, seeking exceptional professionals with backgrounds in business, technology, public health, and education for leadership roles at child welfare agencies.

Our next fellowship convening in Washington, DC features site visits to Baltimore City Department of Social Services and Capitol Hill, plus conversations with leaders from Casey Family Programs, Children’s Defense Fund, Center for the Study of Social Policy, District of Columbia Child & Families Service Agency, and more.

Site partnerships expand, as the child welfare and early childhood agencies in the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington commit to hosting Foster America fellows.

COHORT 1 CONVENING

SITE PARTNERSHIPS EXPAND MAY to SEPTEMBER

APRIL

OUR TEAM GROWS Our team grows as we hire Emily Ente, Director of Strategy & Partnerships, and retain Shannon Scott to consult on fellowship experience.

JUNE

JUNE

SUMMER INTERNSHIPS We welcome six undergrad and graduate interns for the summer.


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Executive coaches provide professional development support to the fellows, following the administration of 360 degree evaluations.

EXECUTIVE COACHES JULY

We bring a second group of top candidates together in Washington, DC for a full day of interviews at the Halcyon Incubator. Anne Marie Ambrose of Casey Family Programs and former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and current fellows deliver remarks.

COHORT 2 SELECTION DAY II NOVEMBER

SEPTEMBER

COHORT 2 SELECTION DAY I We bring top candidates together in Washington, DC for a full day of interviews, including group and analytic cases administered by expert judges. Tim Decker, Director of Missouri’s Children Division, is a featured speaker.

Cohort 2 fellows are confirmed for roles starting in January.

COHORT 2 FELLOWS DECEMBER

NOVEMBER

ONE YEAR FELLOWSHIP ANNIVERSARY We celebrate one year of fellowship service as Cohort 1 fellows present project outcomes and provide design insights for continued program innovations.


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Continued Growth In 2018, we anticipate that Foster America fellows will support state and county child welfare agencies and nonprofit providers in at least seven jurisdictions across the country. Within five years, we anticipate developing more than 100 new leaders, who will serve in jurisdictions that reach more than 75 percent of the foster children in the U.S. Given the relatively small size of the child welfare sector, we believe these 100 new leaders will constitute a sufficient critical mass to have a major impact on child welfare outcomes nationwide. WA MT OR

ID

WI

UT

AZ

CO

MI

IA

NE

NV

IL KS OK

NM

MO

KY

NC SC

AR MS

TX

IN

PA NJ MD OH DE DC WV VA

TN

HI AK

VT NH MA NY CT

MN

SD

WY

CA

ME

ND

LA

2018 host jurisdictions

AL

GA FL

RI


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Collaborators As a startup, we rely on the generous support and contributions of a small army of friends and colleagues. Many thanks for your support.

Advisory Board Child Welfare and Social Service Leaders MaryLee Allen, Children's Defense Fund
 Mary Bissel, Child Focus
 Eric Brettschneider, NYC Administration for Children's Services
 Sixto Cancel, Think of Us
 Marc Cherna, Allegheny County Department of Human Services
 Erin Dalton, Allegheny County Department of Human Services
 Tim Decker, Missouri Children's Division
 Jessica Foster, Youth Villages
 Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, Annie E. Casey Foundation
 Sue Lohrbach, KVC Institute
 Jamia McDonald, Deloitte; formerly Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, & Families Molly McGrath Tierney, formerly Baltimore City Department of Social Services
 Rafael López, Accenture; formerly U.S. Administration on Children, Youth & Families Ellen Schall, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
 Carol Spigner, Center for the Study of Social Policy Leaders of Successful Fellowship Programs Julie Horowitz, formerly Education Pioneers
 Monisha Kapila, ProInspire
 Becca Bracy Knight, The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems Jeff Liebman, Harvard Kennedy School
 Katie Sheketoff, Teach for All

Social, Private, & Public Sector Leaders Kahlil Byrd, Forward Progress in Politics Marquis Cabrera, IBM; Foster Skills, Social Entrepreneur
 Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Tyra Mariani, New America Marina Martin, New America Public Interest Technology Fellow Daniel Stephens, McKinsey & Company

Institutional Partners Akin Gump Aviv Foundation Casey Family Programs Center for the Study of Social Policy Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Edgility Halcyon Incubator McKinsey & Co. New America Redlich Horwitz Foundation Salesforce Tides Center

We are also grateful to our families, friends, and individual donors for their encouragement and support during our pilot year, including Ben and Meredith Wallace, Leana and Marc Katz, Komal and Shirish Pareek, Judith Regan, Gregory Maguire, Gwen Libstag, Sarah Hurwitz, Natasha Dolby, Bill Eggers, Jonathan Lachman, Sherman Zemler Wu, and many others.


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Background on Child Welfare The child welfare system refers to a network of state and local government agencies and community-based service providers that serve our country’s most vulnerable youth. A child’s journey into the child welfare system begins with allegations of neglect, abuse, or being orphaned. The agency investigates all claims and then provides support services to children and families (e.g. counseling, parental education, service referrals) or places children in foster homes. The journey for children in foster care typically ends when the child returns home, is adopted, or “ages out” at 18 or 21. In most jurisdictions, child welfare is administered at the state level. In nine states, it is organized by county. The federal government regulates and helps fund these agencies.

Child welfare is a problem hiding in plain sight.

1.3 million

children per year receive child welfare services

1 in 8 children are abused or neglected by 18

437,000

118,000

$33 billon

children in foster care today

waiting to be adopted

direct annual spending on child maltreatment


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Child Welfare System Outcomes Life outcomes for kids served by the child welfare system are troubling. We can and must do better to support their long-term success.

50% of older foster youth won’t graduate from high school

5x more likely to develop PTSD

4/5 young men 1/3 of youth who age out of foster care will experience homelessness

who age out of foster care are arrested

5x higher rates of

1.5x rate

drug dependency

of alcoholism


www.foster-america.org info@foster-america.org

202-780-9405 c/o The Tides Center 1012 Torney Ave. San Francisco, CA 94129-1755

@foster_america

Foster America Fellowship

@fosteramericafellowship

Foster America 2017 Year in Review  
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