We have found a robust supply of talented professionals eager to use their skills to help improve the lives of children. Our candidate selectivity rate is 4 percent.
At the same time, child welfare agencies across the country have proven to be interested and engaged partners. We are already in 9 states and counties, and that number is growing.
Foster America is comparable in cost to other successful fellowship programs, leverages public investment to double the value of each dollar raised, and pays for itself many times over by reducing foster care entry rates and the number of kids in institutional care.
Most importantly, Foster America fellows are making a major impact on the ground. Here are some illustrative examples:
In Rhode Island, too many foster children have been placed in group homes and institutions because of an acute shortage of kinship and foster families. Research shows that these kinds of group placements are both more damaging for children and more costly for taxpayers.
Using skills from journalism and human centered design, Adam interviewed over 400 kinship and foster families to understand their greatest challenges. Based on the findings, Adam launched a targeted recruitment campaign and improved the customer experience of potential kinship and foster families. The result was a 25 percent increase in the number of kinship and foster families licensed by Rhode Island in a single year.
Leila C. Pree
Leila has helped the Administration for Children’s Services in New York City use data to identify which families are at greatest risk of abuse and neglect in order to prioritize them for preventive services. She also developed a statistical model to predict which children are at the highest risk of staying in foster care for long periods and aging out of the system without a family, so that the agency can intervene earlier to help these kids get adopted or reunite with their families.
The Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare is using her work to inform their development of national guidelines for how to account for race equity in predictive analytic models.
In her first year of service at the Administration for Children’s Services, Elizabeth reduced from 500 to under 20 the number of at-risk families in NYC who were on a waiting list for services to prevent recurring child abuse or neglect.
Her background in strategy and public health continues to prove valuable at the agency. Elizabeth was recently promoted to a new leadership role at ACS, leading a team of six that is focused on efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect and reduce the need for foster care.