The mission of Ampersand Families is to provide permanency and adoption services to older youth and families who face barriers to equity in child welfare, and to champion systemic changes that advance belonging, dignity and hope.
Our vision is that every young person whose life has been disrupted by trauma and subsequent child welfare intervention will be restored to a safe, permanent family with an urgency that honors the brevity of childhood.
Everyone who speaks or acts on behalf of Ampersand Families is expected to uphold these values:
We understand that privilege, systemic racism and economic disparities impact ourselves, the people and communities we serve, and the child welfare field, and we are uniquely charged to advance equity through our practice and leadership.
We believe that being connected to family, kin, community and culture are essential aspects of wellbeing. We challenge barriers that keep youth from building or accessing these relationships, and we bravely advocate for practices that create opportunities for connection.
We know that the adversarial nature of the child welfare system can leave youth, families and professionals feeling unseen, unheard and powerless. We commit to seeing and honoring the diversity of perspectives and intersecting identities each player brings to the table, knowing that the best outcomes are achieved when youth and families are understood to be more than the challenges they are facing.
We demonstrate hope through creative ideas, constructive partnerships, commitment to breaking through barriers, and the fervent belief that youth who have been separated from family need and deserve meaningful human relationships.
We behave with honesty, act with the highest ethical behavior, and strive for superior performance standards, including holding ourselves accountable for the outcomes of our work, offering transparency in our financial management and honoring the public trust conferred upon us as a nonprofit organization.
We champion positive change and proactively advance ideas and innovations that strengthen practices, accountability and outcomes throughout the child welfare system.
The Child Welfare System
The child welfare system has left a legacy of harm across our nation.
From orphan trains that carried immigrant children, many not orphans, from the city to the country for a so-called “better life,” to Indian boarding schools, where Native children suffered cruelty and forced assimilation, to today’s reality, where families of color are more likely to be separated than white families, the trauma the child welfare system has caused cannot be erased.
Minnesota ranks near the bottom when it comes to racial disparities in child welfare. Kids of color, particularly Black and Native youth, are disproportionately more likely to experience the trauma of family separation, the loneliness of long-term foster care, and the negative effects of aging out of foster care without a legal family.
At Ampersand Families, we are committed to anti-racism practices and confronting racism and bias in the child welfare system to reduce harm and improve outcomes for the youth and families we serve. As participants in the system, we are uniquely charged to advance equity through our practice and leadership.
The ampersand is a symbol with which we’re all familiar. In writing, it connects words and ideas.
For us, the & is a constant reminder that our role is to be connectors in partnership with youth. We bring together people, resources and ideas that help young people to keep and build lifelong relationships. We make more room at the table for youth to be part of decisions made about their lives. People, resources, ideas, youth voice, new relationships, and past relationships all come together at Ampersand Families to restore belonging, dignity, and hope for youth in Minnesota’s child welfare system.