Launching in three pilot sites

Foster America is proud to announce our first three pilot sites, hosting our inaugural class of fellows: New York City's Administration for Children’s Services, Allegheny County's Department of Human Services, and the State of Rhode Island's Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Foster America plans to scale nationally over the next five years, creating 100+ new leaders and innovators for the child welfare sector. Our 2016 launch begins with a pilot. We have selected our first three host sites, where we have co-designed project roles for our inaugural class of eight fellows.

Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Reform highlights:

  • Reduced the number of children in out of home care by 65%.
  • When children are placed out of home, 55% live with relatives.
  • Implementing a predictive risk tool that will improve the accuracy of call screening decisions, offering enhanced child protection and resource deployment.
  • DHS Director Marc Cherna received Casey Family Programs’ first ever lifetime achievement award in 2014. 

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. DHS provides a broad array of social services and community-based opportunities that support vulnerable individuals and families. Child welfare is one of the functions within the county's larger integrated, comprehensive human service system.

Foster America selected Allegheny DHS as a pilot site because of the long-sustained quality of their work, commitment to the use of evidence in decision-making, and the collaborative culture of their leadership team. Fellows in Pittsburgh work on implementation and program design related to predictive analytics models, child welfare workforce initiatives that lead to the hiring and retention of a strong casework staff, and fiscal reforms that efficiently target the use of funds to maximize positive results for children. Our host agency champions are Director Marc Cherna, Deputy Director Erin Dalton, and Deputy Director Randy Brockington.


New York Administration for Children’s Services

Reform highlights:

  • Diminished the use of congregate care settings from almost 3,000 children to under 1,000.
  • By expanding the workforce, reforming hiring processes, and training staff, brought the average caseload to 12 children.
  • Created the ACS Workforce Institute, a collaboration with City University of New York, to strengthening the fundamentals of case practice in an increasingly complex field.
  • Implemented the nation’s broadest array of research-proven preventive family support programs to keep children safe at home.
  • Since 2010, reduced the total amount of time that New York City children spend in foster care each year by nearly 30%.

The Administration for Children's Services (ACS) is New York City's first agency devoted solely to serving children and their families. ACS integrates child welfare, juvenile justice, and early care and education services in a single agency - highlighting their strong focus on prevention and partnership with communities.

Foster America selected New York City as our first pilot site because of the strength of its reform-minded child welfare agency leaders and their commitment to innovation and reform. Fellows at ACS may work on the recruitment and retention of foster families, use of predictive analytics to keep children safely out of foster care and reduce the amount of time children spend in foster care, and inter-agency collaboration to prevent teens in foster care from becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. Our host agency champions are Gladys Carrion, Commissioner, Eric Brettschneider, First Deputy Commissioner, and Andrew White, Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning.




Reform highlights:

  • After running at a deficit in five of the past six year, with increasingly poor results despite growing costs, rebid all statewide service contracts.
  • Deployed performance-based contracting system with active contract management, encouraging innovation and accountability.
  • Reduced reliance on congregate care, reducing the census by more than 20% in less than a year. 

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families partners with families and communities to raise safe and healthy children and youth in a caring environment. DCYF provides community based services, responds to allegations of child abuse and neglect, supports families in crisis, and provides placement services, including foster care and adoption.

Rhode Island is in the midst of statewide reform, particularly in its use of data in the management of contracts with provider agencies and in reducing the use of congregate care placements. It was selected as a pilot site for the strength of its leadership team and their sense of mission and urgency in implementing reforms. Our Rhode Island fellow will work to recruit, develop, and support foster, adoptive, and relative families so that children in placement have the support of loving, capable parents.