Ampersand Families recruits and supports permanent families for older youth, and champions practices in adoption and permanency that restore belonging, dignity and hope. We are seeking experienced professionals who understand the profound impact that child welfare intervention has on the lives of children, youth and families. A successful candidate for this position will be curious about the many ways permanency work can restore belonging, dignity and hope.

Ampersand Families is proud to be an employer of choice with an organizational culture of excellence that embraces humor, learning and collegial support. We employ professionals who are accountable for learning the skills, building the relationships and investing the time required to achieve and support real outcomes for youth, families and excellence in the programs designed to support them.

Ampersand Families is committed to doing our part to create a more equitable child welfare system. To that end, Ampersand Families provides equal employment opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, ethnic background, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, marital status, socio-economic status, status with regard to public assistance, political affiliation, veteran status, other non-visible differences and other protected attributes.

Child Welfare IV-E Scholars, please note that Ampersand Families is a Tier 2 Agency.  Please consider us as you search for a great agency to begin or to continue your child welfare career.

Our current employment opportunities are listed below

To apply, please send cover letter and resume to

Permanency Specialist

Position Summary

Ampersand Families’ programs and services focus almost exclusively on achieving permanency for older youth (10 years and older) in Minnesota’s child welfare system. Our approach to permanency work invites both prospective adoptive families and waiting youth to be deeply engaged in their own process.  For youth, in particular, being part of decisions made on their behalf is a key component to meaningful permanency work. Permanency Specialists are the frontline to achieving permanency for youth and families.  As an organization, Ampersand Families strives to strategically addressing systemic inequity and barriers to permanency for older youth, youth of color and sibling groups.

Permanency Specialists provide the full spectrum of adoption services, including recruitment, training, home study and support of families as well as a broad array of child-specific recruitment, preparation and support services for youth. Our family work increasingly includes support to relative and kinship families seeking to provide permanency.  This is a professional position requiring significant amount of self-direction, irregular hours and travel throughout the state of Minnesota.


  • Provide child-specific recruitment services using strategies that prepare and engage youth to find their voice in permanency decisions being made on their behalf.
  • Provide the full spectrum of adoption services to families, including recruitment, training, home study, comprehensive matching and transition services and post adoption support.
  • Work closely with relatives and kin who are seeking the opportunity to provide permanency to a child they already know.
  • Engaged participation an initial on-boarding period, which will include partnering with more experienced peers in order to develop a deep understanding of the role and the practice orientation of Ampersand Families.  For the first six months to twelve months, the Permanency Specialist is expected be present in the office whenever s/he is not in the field meeting with youth, families or professional partners.
  • Frequent and in-depth consultation with peers to develop strategies, promote creativity and maintain balance in this position which has a potential for high stress and emotional investment.
  • Build relationships with the other professionals involved in the lives of each youth, and leverage those relationships to achieve permanency.
  • Commit to taking time and asking questions in order to develop a deep understanding of the social and systemic influences that contribute to disparities and over-representation of older youth and youth of color in the child welfare system.
  • Establish positive relationships with foster parents and other care providers, providing tools for them to act as a bridge for youth during the adoption process.
  • Permanency Specialists spend most of their time in the field – up to 30% of their time involve visits that require driving to meet with youth and families who may be in virtually any part of the state.

Required Qualifications            

  • Master’s Degree in social work or related field or Bachelor’s Degree and three years’ experience in child welfare, children’s mental health, adoption or foster care required.  Experience with family preservation and/or relative/kin support is preferred.
  • Professional licensure is required, as applicable.  Social work licensure supervision (LICSW, LISW, LGSW, LSW) available
  • Experience working in permanency in Minnesota, direct family support and crisis intervention, children’s mental health and/or trauma-informed care preferred.  Men and persons of color are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • Valid driver’s license, insurance coverage, and clean driving record.
  • Skills identified by youth for prospective Permanency Specialist: “They have to be able to connect with teens, ability to listen to youth, to be articulate. They can’t be scared of teenagers, and be willing to see ‘the dark side’ like when a teen is angry or stubborn or don’t want to listen or say stuff they don’t mean. They have to have the ability to persevere for permanency even when others on the team don’t believe it.”
  • Ability to communicate effectively and develop partnerships with wide range of community members, social service professionals, families and youth.
  • Ability to be flexible, take personal initiative, and be self-directed while embracing a work environment that demands collegial support and consultation and accountability.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Well-organized, strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task.
  • Available and willing to travel throughout Minnesota, including occasional overnight work trips.
  • BCA and social services background check required.


Supervision Received:  Program Supervisor

Salary:  $42,000-$50,000 range.  Full-time, exempt position.

Ampersand Families provides a comprehensive benefits package including Health Insurance, Vision Insurance, Dental Insurance, Retirement Plan, Long-term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, Short-term Disability bank, a generous Paid Time Off plan and 10 Paid Holidays.



POSITION:  Office Volunteer

JOB TYPE: Volunteer

HOURS: 4-10 hours/week, Primarily during typical daytime business hours. Evening or weekend projects on occasion, dependent on volunteer availability.

SUPERVISOR: Program Administrator and/or Program Director

CLOSING DATE: Open Until Filled


Position Description:

The Office Volunteer will contribute to Ampersand Families’ mission by providing administrative support to program staff.  A successful candidate for this position will have strong organizational skills, a keen eye for details, and a commitment to ensuring data privacy.  This is a flexible position, in which an exact schedule will be determined through discussion with the volunteer. This could be an exciting opportunity for an experienced professional looking to contribute their skills to a worthy cause, or a college student interested in getting experience in a non-profit office setting.


Possible Duties:

  • Scan, redact, and review files for accuracy.
  • Enter client data and documents into client data management system (SAM).
  • Assist with Lifebook for youth, which could include organizing photos and information to assist our Permanency Specialists/social workers in this important project
  • Other administrative or office tasks, based on the interest and skill level of the volunteer



  • Extraordinary attention to detail
  • Computer skills, including MS Office Suite, AdobePro, and database familiarity
  • Professional written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work with a diversity of peoples and groups
  • Seeking a minimum 3 month commitment
  • A background check is required


Benefits available to the volunteer:

  • Support to receive some training in child welfare-related issues
  • Opportunity to participate in our in-service training, discussions related to equity and/or child welfare issues
  • Opportunity to participate in family activities, retreats, youth nights, etc
  • Lunch once a month if they come on staff meeting day
  • Possibility of a small stipend

This position will work out of our St. Paul office at 2515 Wabash Avenue, Suite 150, St. Paul, MN 55114.

To apply:  Please send a letter of interest including qualifications to Al Willig, Finance & Operations Director at


Why choose Ampersand Families?

“My six year-old son Clark has been saving up his money to buy a Lego set.  He came to me with a quarter and asked me to give it to Ampersand Families, “To help kids who need to find families.” Thank you for the important work you do, and for advancing Clark’s understanding of what it […]

Laura, Former Board Member

Get Blog Updates to Your Inbox