Community Design Strategist Leveraging Family Voice to Keep Families Together
Foster America fellows leverage their diverse professional backgrounds as they assume leadership roles at child welfare agencies, improving outcomes for our nation’s most vulnerable children and families. In collaboration with Schmidt Futures Foundation, we are developing partnerships with and building bridges between public child welfare and human service agencies to prevent family separations of children involved in child welfare. Fellows will promote equitable outcomes for kids who are or at risk of entering foster care, utilizing an adaptive strategy to improve agency policies and practices for finding, licensing, and supporting kinship caregivers. We are recruiting and placing well-supported Foster America fellows in three locations across the country, and building on existing approaches to ensure children are timely placed in family settings. This team of fellows will also share and leverage ongoing learning across the country as they discover solutions that promote equitable outcomes for children and youth.
About this Role: In partnership with San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency’s Child Welfare Services, we seek an experienced human-centered designer and/or participatory community engagement expert to develop constituent engagement strategies that elevate the true needs of families who currently or seek to provide kinship care. San Diego County is deeply committed to improving equitable outcomes for children and youth in kinship care placements. In pursuit of innovative strategies, the Foster America fellow will lead the creation of community engagement infrastructure that promotes and facilitates solutions for improving the kinship care experience.
The fellow will utilize expertise in design thinking, strategy, and facilitation to build the tools, systems, and capacity that uplift family, youth, and community voices in the redesign of kinship care policies, processes, and/or services. This role will elevate an understanding of what families need, how to identify barriers that hinder families from receiving effective supports, and how to enable county and partnering agencies to make more equitable decisions.
Over the course of 18 months, the fellow will:
- Design a strategy and platform that incorporates the perspectives and ideas of families and community leaders in program planning and service design.
- Strategize improvements for kinship care practices that enhance licensure accessibility, advance kinship care provider supports, and streamline effective processes across all of San Diego’s regions.
- Support the San Diego County’s ongoing culture shift toward one that is sustainably rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
About the agency: Under the dynamic leadership of Kimberly Giardina, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency’s Child Welfare Services is committed to excellence in the delivery of culturally competent, family-centered and child-focused protective services. With significant progress being made within San Diego, the agency remains dedicated to enhancing services experienced by children, youth and families. The fellow would join a team in San Diego that has deeply invested in improving kinship care practices, and already launched numerous innovative solutions. The team’s enthusiasm to receive a fellow to engage families and communities, speaks to the commitment to further pursue more equitable outcomes.
About the fellowship: The Foster America Fellowship is an opportunity to radically improve the lives of our nation’s most historically exploited by designing and implementing innovative solutions to some of the foster care system’s most complex problems. Fellows apply the skills they have cultivated in other sectors as they transition to full-time, 18-month positions at child welfare and human service agencies. In their roles, fellows focus on high-impact reform projects to create better and more equitable outcomes for children, families, and communities affected by child abuse, neglect, trauma, and poverty. Each role is designed to have an immediate and lasting local impact while also informing solutions that can be scaled nationally. Foster America fellows receive extensive training and professional development with a cohort of peers, positioning them to thrive and grow as social change leaders during the fellowship and beyond.
Fellowship support includes:
- Cutting-edge training focusing on leadership, liberatory design, child welfare context, racial equity, innovation, and more
- An influential network of purpose-driven professionals including fellows, Foster America staff, and the child welfare field’s most innovative leaders as faculty
- Individualized project and leadership coaching, mentorship, and support
- Career development for alumni who pursue positions in child welfare and related sectors
- Reporting directly to Valesha Bullock, you would join a team that is dedicated to increasing equitable outcomes.
- Opportunity to envision and build a model for community engagement from the ground up, in coordination with diverse local stakeholders.
- Lead change efforts through the full design process from harvesting community insights, prototyping and iterating on solutions, and packaging reform efforts for scale-up.
- Work on the cutting edge of bringing equity-driven human-centered design practices to child welfare.
- Collaborate with a network of fellows and child welfare agencies working together to improve the broader resource family licensure process.
Compelling Candidates are:
- Committed to our mission of improving the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable children, families, and communities
- Experienced professionals, with at least 7 years of progressive leadership roles
- Actively invested in the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
- Able to engage and influence diverse stakeholders, building effective and unified coalitions
- Strong project managers, creative in developing unique solutions to complex problems
- Results-oriented, with a track record of leading change
- Flexible, adaptable, proactive, and persistent
- Curious and eager learners
- Humble and self-reflective
- Fellows must have U.S. work authorization.
- Fellows must be able to work full-time for at least 18 months starting April 12th, 2021.
- Fellows must work on-site at their host agency.
- Fellows must travel quarterly to attend training sessions that last from three to five days.
- Fellows must pass all host agency employer requirements, which may include background checks, drug screening, and civil service exams.
- April 26, 2021
- March 5, 2021
Competitive health benefits, dental, vision, 401k, commuter benefits, parental leave, twelve federal holidays observed
Frequently cited statistics show that underrepresented groups apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. Foster America encourages you to break that statistic and apply. No one ever meets 100% of the qualifications. We look forward to your application.