Michelle Chalmers

Michelle has worked with youth in out-of-home care since 1989, her child welfare career has included front-line staff positions in residential settings, a home-based intensive supervision worker, and youth development work in a therapeutic foster care agency. Prior to co-founding Ampersand Families in October 2008, Michelle directed The Homecoming Project.

Michelle has developed and led workshops nationally and internationally for foster and adoptive parents, social workers, Guardians ad litem/CASA volunteers, and others involved in the lives of youth in care. She has authored professional articles and two books (in partnership with youth) aimed at helping youth engage in their own care. Her leadership was integral to the development a 12-unit permanent supportive housing program in St. Paul, Minnesota that is home to youth who became homeless upon leaving a residential placement.

Michelle’s first education into the world of child welfare came in high school when she was placed into foster care in Colorado. She aged out of care in 1985.  As a ‘graduate’ of foster care, Michelle is passionate about the need for system reform and the essential role that young people can take in leading child welfare to more effective, youth and family-focused strategies.

Michelle is incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to provide a home and parenting to six young people, now ages 23 to 38.

Michelle holds a master’s in social work from Augsburg College in Minneapolis (1994).

Michelle loves to travel, and has been very fortunate to have been to some amazing places.  When all is said and done, though Michelle is most happy paddling in the Boundary Waters or wandering somewhere in the mountains of Colorado.

Listen to Michelle on Radio AM950

Thank you to host Laurie Beth Fitz for doing such a great job exploring the topic of permanency, and thanks to our friend, Ampersand Families website designer, and co-producer Cary Walski, for recommending us as a guest.   Hope you enjoy the show… Read more

Pre-adoption Training February 27th, March 2nd & 9th

Training is a great way to dip your toes into older youth adoption and to see if it might be a fit for your family. Our next round will be: Saturday February 27th  9:00am – 6:00pm Wednesday March 2nd 5:30pm – 9:00pm Wednesday March 9th 5:30pm – 9:00pm All training is at  our office: 2515 Wabash Avenue, Suite 150, St Paul, … Read more

What is the purpose of a birth certificate?

It’s time to begin a national dialogue on the purpose of a birth certificate.  Sounds like a silly question, maybe?  But, if you are someone who was adopted or who is an adoptive parent or who is the birth parent of an adopted person, the question probably isn’t silly at all to you. An integral part… Read more

Why do teens need families, anyway?

@amperfamilies They need families because humans need connection to thrive — Kim Stevens (@kimaling1) November 10, 2015 //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js… Read more

$10,000 for Ampersand Families?

https://twitter.com/amperfamilies/status/661676642096541697… Read more

Fun Fact About Michelle

Michelle has had the incredible experience of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns, Australia with a group of teens from foster care!  How cool is that?@!

Get Blog Updates to Your Inbox