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
Boston, MA
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.

  • Last month we gathered to discuss pathways to innovation in child welfare and celebrate the extraordinary leaders i… https://t.co/zNlSnEfwSN
  • So excited that our executive director Marie Zemler Wu is part of this amazing cohort! Through this program we’ll b… https://t.co/OBjl3qze1P
  • RT @Novak_Runs: “This is an all hands moment. It is possible to do this differently if we approach the problem differently.” Thank you Joo…
  • Catch our senior fellow @mathangiSwami from 9-10:15 this morning! She’ll be discussing a successful community progr… https://t.co/C0btwHWCLB
  • Ready to join our team? Apply to be Foster America's VP, Strategic Partnerships for Family Wellbeing! Applications… https://t.co/3GUWsRzh1n
  • Attention all #childwelfare changemakers - Foster America is hiring! Visit https://t.co/9ipMvBydKK for more info ab… https://t.co/BoXaRBrqcz
  • Have you gotten your copy of Hack Your Bureaucracy yet? Our faculty @MarinaNitze has 55+ strategies for cutting thr… https://t.co/Ad3Ewl3ILP
  • RT @AanchieD: Just pre-ordered! My @foster_america Advisor @MarinaNitze is one of the smartest people I know, especially when it comes to t…
  • One week ago, the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. We unequivocally condemn this ruling, and are reaffi… https://t.co/YXlI9YnCdL
  • RT @kendrahurleynyc: The U.S. is a harsh place for families. For @TheAtlantic I wrote about a big reason why: the misguided belief that gov…
  • RT @FosteringMC: How does homophobia impact youth in #fostercare? Register for Youth Voice's next webinar to learn about this important top…
  • RT @instituteforfam: (VIDEO) Isaiah Strozier dives into @foster_america Senior Fellow @mathangiSwami's 2021 report and discusses if Child…
  • We are devastated by the recent gun violence across America that has included racist attacks and attacks on childre… https://t.co/atrenwZuc7
  • RT @DorothyERoberts: In the US, “child protection” means taking children away from struggling families, not ensuring housing, food & health…
  • Spreading innovations at the local level is so important to changing systems overall. Check out Senior Fellow… https://t.co/sEJVKCC4QX
  • Celebrating our first in-person convening in 2.5 years! So happy to watch the ideas flow between fellows, faculty &… https://t.co/S3M9sdChr5
  • What are you doing this weekend? Great time to apply for our Office Manager position! https://t.co/i5J3Jc8tr2
  • Come join our growing team! Foster America is hiring for an Office Manager, predominately remote but needs to be ab… https://t.co/6ncQt6ZDN5
  • The GLG social impact fellowship been instrumental in bolstering our work towards transforming the child welfare sy… https://t.co/KHouu7L2nv
  • The directive in Texas against trans children & their families is the opposite of Foster America’s vision for the c… https://t.co/2cylNCqgbN