Our Mission is to recruit and support permanent families for older youth, and to champion practices in adoption and permanency that restore belonging, dignity and hope.

Ampersand Families is a non-profit agency that focuses on finding and sustaining permanency for youth in the foster care system and provides an array of other community-based services to families and youth.

Check out our current employment opportunities below.

Permanency Specialist

Position Description: 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.  The rest of the agency supports the work of Permanency Specialists by strategically addressing systemic barriers to permanency for older youth, youth of color and sibling groups.  An orientation of professionalism and humility that values continuous learning and commitment to give and receive consultation are requirements for successful employment at Ampersand Families.

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. This is a professional position requiring significant amount of self-direction, irregular hours and travel throughout the state of Minnesota.

Primary Duties: 

  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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 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.

STARTING SALARY RANGE: $42,000-$48,000

Submit resume and cover letter to: mary@ampersandfamilies.org

Family Support Program Intern

Position Description: This position supports Ampersand Families’ post placement support services for families adopting an older youth from the foster care system.  We provide an array of innovative supports to help families identify and access the tools they need to help their new kid heal from trauma.

Primary Duties:

The Program Intern will participate in nearly every aspect of the organization, playing an integral role in the daily activities of the program department and exploring how a nonprofit operates. Intern activities may include, but are not limited to and based on the skill set and interest of the intern:

  • Assist in coordination of Family Trainings
  • Assist in coordination of Family Retreat
  • Help with the recruitment of Buddy Families
  • Manage updates to Parent Portal and Resource Library
  • Monitor Family Facebook Group
  • Help organize monthly Parent Roundtables
  • Coordinate family satisfaction surveys
  • Assist in organization outreach activities and events, especially in the recruitment of families
  • Assist with development of program materials


  • Undergraduate student with interest in social work, public administration, nonprofit management and education or some post-secondary education in a related field.
  • Self-motivated, enthusiastic and eager to learn
  • Ability to organize time and work independently, follow directions and complete tasks in an effective manner
    Skill in coordinating tasks and projects
    Computer skills, including word processing. Experience with Microsoft Excel a plus
    Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work with a diversity of peoples and groups
  • Preferable skills/experience: experience working in an administrative role, customer service, volunteer experience, experience working/volunteering in family-oriented environments (interacting with adults and children together), previous event coordination, and/or previous experience working with children.

A background check is required.

A commitment of 10-12 hours a week is preferred, for the duration of three months, with the specific dates negotiable. This position will work out of our St. Paul office at 2515 Wabash Avenue, Suite 150, St. Paul, MN 55114. Some in-state travel may be necessary.

This is an unpaid internship, although Ampersand Families will work with the colleges or universities to help interns receive credit for their work, or to confirm service for fellowships.

Why choose Ampersand Families?

“My interest in adoption is based on the way that I was raised. I was blessed to be a part of a happy, healthy home.  One of the things my parents instilled in me is that it is not right to just sit back and watch the world wishing for change.  If something is important, […]


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