Mission and History

Every child deserves a safe and loving family.

Founder Sherry Lachman has devoted her career to improving government systems that serve vulnerable children, first as an attorney and later as a policy maker. As she moved between the education and child welfare sectors, Sherry noticed a critical difference: Dynamic, visionary, and innovative leaders were joining the education reform movement in great numbers and applying their skills to improve children's academic outcomes.

In child welfare, by contrast, a small cadre of exceptional leaders were making a difference, but the system as a whole was failing to evolve. The sector struggled to develop sufficient leadership capacity and attract diverse talent to tackle its most challenging problems at scale.

Sherry and co-founder Marie Zemler Wu launched Foster America in 2016 to bring new energy, attention, and innovation to child welfare.

Foster America imagines a different future for child welfare - one in which the nation's brightest minds and greatest talents devote themselves to transforming life outcomes for children who are orphaned, abused, or neglected.  


Foster America seeks to build on the successes of highly-selective fellowship programs in fields like education, health, and immigration that serve as the entry point for welcoming diverse talent. As fellows, these professionals produce positive results, and more often than not, they continue as long-term leaders in the sector.  

In shaping Foster America as it has emerged today, we have collaborated with leaders and innovators from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Foster America was incubated at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and we are currently fiscally sponsored by the Tides Center.

We hope you will join Foster America as we continue to build a movement and change outcomes for our nation's most vulnerable children.