Model & Strategy

Foster America’s mission is to improve the lives of America’s most vulnerable children–those who have been abused, neglected, or orphaned–by building a pipeline of leaders and innovators who will help transform the child welfare system. In June 2016, Foster America launched a fellowship program that recruits, trains, and deploys talented professionals with diverse skills and backgrounds into the child welfare system. Drawing inspiration from other successful fellowship models like Teach For America and The Broad Residency, Foster America seeks to effect change within a bureaucratic system from the inside out by placing successful post-graduate and mid-career professionals to work under change-minded government and nonprofit agency leaders, catalyzing short-term improvements and long-term transformation.

Foster America’s fellows will focus on a previously-identified problem that affects children in foster care, leveraging their prior professional experience, skills, and outside-the-box thinking to achieve results against a defined set of metrics.  Each fellow works on a project, leading and innovating to: 1) prevent abuse and neglect, keeping more children safely out of foster care; 2) see that children who do enter foster care can live with loving, stable foster families rather than in group settings; 3) ensure that every child in foster care has quality, consistent support from a highly-capable caseworker; and 4) that children have health, mental health, safety, and educational success as the multiple systems in their life work together for their well-being.

Long term, the organization’s goal is to develop and scale new solutions to the biggest challenges facing the child welfare system and build a cadre of talented leaders who will continue to work on improving our country’s child welfare system.

At a Glance
Founded: 2014
Founder & CEO: Sherry Lachman
Social Justice
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast
Foster America
San Francisco, CA
Our nation's most vulnerable children deserve more
Sherry Lachman of Foster America
Meet Sherry Lachman

Founder and CEO Sherry Lachman has devoted her career to improving government systems to help disadvantaged children and families. She previously served as a domestic policy advisor to Vice President Biden, a senior policy advisor at the Department of Education, a senior education counsel to Senator Al Franken, and an attorney at the Juvenile Law Center. Sherry holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in philosophy from the University of Cambridge, a doctor of law from Columbia University, and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Sherry’s commitment to child welfare stems from her experience in foster care as a child.

IMPACT

Foster America fellows have made major progress on the ground. For example, one fellow used his marketing and design skills to help Rhode Island increase by 25 percent the number of foster families they recruited and licensed and thereby decrease by 30 percent the number of foster children they placed in jail-like institutions. Another fellow is using his software engineering skills to help Washington State integrate data across its early childhood and child welfare agencies to identify and match vulnerable families earlier with services that prevent child abuse and neglect.

By 2022, FA aims to scale the innovations their fellows and alumni create and develop at least 100 new leaders for the child welfare field from their fellowship pipeline. Together, they will represent enough of a critical mass in a relatively small sector, to begin shifting our country’s broken approach to child welfare, which is at the root of so many of society’s biggest challenges.

  • There are over 122,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted who are at risk of aging out of foster care. Youth… https://t.co/KP4yj6hkdP
  • Foster America is seeking a Senior Communications Associate to create and manage our external communications. This… https://t.co/387CLDQEZ0
  • We are thrilled to welcome five new fellows to the Foster America family! Our 5th cohort of fellows are in preservi… https://t.co/rqDDcBSqyd
  • Happening today! Join us in celebrating our wonderful Founder and Executive Director, @sherrylachman, as she acce… https://t.co/jffSvJus4u
  • We're seeking a Program Associate to support the planning and execution of our program. This position offers a uniq… https://t.co/MRqvVvmDEO
  • Our fellows are community-builders who understand the strength of leading through creating coalitions. Past cohorts… https://t.co/6EBJR2OEzF
  • Our fellows lead high-impact reform projects with measurable impact. The results of their projects are not just val… https://t.co/Z52KzY47fS
  • We know that fellows changing careers leave behind professional relationships built over time. Our cohort structure… https://t.co/vSXPOmJVDp
  • Now is your chance to join our fifth cohort! You will be connected to a wide range of supports to help you grow as… https://t.co/7OQ5jyxiEs
  • Our fellows work full-time at government or nonprofit child welfare agencies for 18 months, often working across se… https://t.co/RFLdAhYwzB
  • We are seeking innovators to join us at a time when there is an unprecedented opportunity to transform our country’… https://t.co/MpwTpG9zuG
  • In partnership w/ Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, we are seeking an experienced data scientist. Applic… https://t.co/ZEgNhCIH6k
  • Join us for the final Webinar Info Session before the 8/31 app deadline! Info Sessions are a great way to learn abo… https://t.co/6wAWbtlR8X
  • RT @BeeckCenter: Efficient foster care systems benefit everyone who is part of the process. In partnership w/@foster_america @NewAmericaPIT
  • Foster America is accepting applications for our fifth cohort of Fellows in Oklahoma, City, OK, the Bay Area, CA, G… https://t.co/ZX5ZrVcbtH
  • In partnership with the Washington Association for Children and Families, we seek a skilled strategist, evaluator,… https://t.co/feFhJnJfL2
  • Meet Nicole! Our Measurement & Evaluation Intern this Summer! She's a SoCal native and a @TuftsUniversityhttps://t.co/TCAbImH0P9
  • RT @NewAmerica: ICYMI: @NewAmericaPIT partnered with @foster_america, @BeeckCenter, and @ThinkOf_Us to launch the Child Welfare Playbook to…