Associate Director of Programs-Foster Care

  • Tacoma, WA, USA
  • Full-time

Company Description

Amara is committed to positive long-term outcomes for children and families. We drive systemic change, promote healing, and advance racial and LGBTQ+ equity by offering programs and services to families engaged with foster care and to adoptees and families, post-adoption.

At Amara, we believe that a supportive, equitable and inclusive workplace, where everyone feels valued, trusted, and nurtured, is key to shaping organizational culture and investing in underrepresented communities. Amara believes that a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace enhances our ability to fulfill our mission. We strongly invite candidates from diverse backgrounds, including communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, veterans, and people with disabilities to apply.

Amara has an opportunity for an Associate Director of Programs - Foster Care who brings a thoughtful, positive, and strategic perspective while ensuring the Foster Care Services (FCS) program is impactful, efficient, promotes healing, leads to systemic change, and works in concert with all of Amara’s service array. The ideal candidate is passionate about Amara’s mission, vision, and values. They will have strong interpersonal, clinical, and administrative skills, enjoy working to improve processes and have the ability to engage with a variety of stakeholders including foster families, DCYF colleagues, and Amara team members.

If you are energized by the Amara mission, and thrive on creating and following through on ambitious plans in service to improving children’s well-being, we would love to hear from you.


Job Description


The Associate Director of Programs - Foster Care reports to the Chief Program & Policy Officer and works closely with Amara’s Program leadership team while overseeing the Foster Care Services team. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Clinical Supervision and Management (50%)

·       Provide a warm, caring, and confident leadership style that supports a team providing direct care and support to children and families

·       Oversee, support, and develop the Foster Care Services team, including recruitment and retention, hiring, orientation, supervision, evaluation, and promotion of staff

·       Support all FCS staff ensuring that services provided are high quality, consistent, and responsive to child and family needs across FCS teams in all regions

·       Provide clinical supervision (utilizing reflective supervision skills) and ensure best practice across all program areas (home study, licensing, child/family match, placement support). Direct reports currently include 3 FCS supervisors, 1 Child Placement Coordinator, and occasional direct supervision of Foster Care Specialists

·       Implement policies, priorities, and procedures consistent with best practice models for effective program implementation

·       Partner with Foster Care Services team to ensure proper investigation and handling of DLR/CPS investigations, be readily available for ad-hoc staffings, and ensure bi-monthly clinical meetings meet program needs  

·       Assign and manage staff caseloads, setting and adjusting work to be accomplished by staff

·       Ensure prospective and current foster families receive phone and in-person support as needed; pre-application and when requested by staff and/or family due to issues presented

·       Identify and implement ways to ensure connection and consistency between the Pierce and King County Foster Care Teams

·       Track overall performance of Foster Care Services staff and audit foster family survey responses to ensure service consistency and application of best clinical and ethical practice standards

Operational Management (25%)

·       Work collaboratively with other Associate Directors of Programs to ensure impactful, efficient, and complementary services across Amara’s service array

·       In partnership with Associate Director of Program Impact and Evaluation, ensure appropriate data collection and reporting to evaluate program impact and efficacy

·       Oversee licensure, monitoring, reporting, and contract compliance

·       Identify, recommend, and implement program and process improvement in concert with team feedback/guidance – working to serve families from recruitment/interest through closure of their license and transfer to another Amara service area

·       Project, develop, and monitor revenue and expense budget for Foster Care Services program

Strategic Leadership (15%)

·       Regularly review and recommend changes in program services to meet client needs with emphasis on services for underserved populations

·       Develop and maintain effective relationships with other service providers, agencies, and partners to ensure that children and families have excellent access to all needed services

·       As a member of the leadership team, this position plays a key role in the development and ongoing promotion of Amara’s mission, vision, philosophy, and culture

·       Remain apprised of current trends, practices, and legislation in foster care through networking and publications to develop new programs to either meet changing needs in our community or to diversify our services

·       Coordinate with the Chief Program & Policy Officer regarding child welfare policy

·       Participate in select internal and external collaborative efforts with key stakeholders/partners (e.g., DCYF, WACF, other CPAs, etc.) to advance systemic child welfare change

·       Assess program development and provide leadership in service expansion opportunities

Communications (10%)

·       Coordinate with Communications team on media content regarding issues related to foster care

·       Represent Amara in community and coalition meetings, events, and partner and donor meetings

·       Serve on select internal and external committees



  • MSW or MA/MS degree in a related field, licensure preferred but not required
  • 4+ years of clinical experience providing trauma informed care
  • 4+ years of experience in foster care, child welfare, or social services
  • 2+ years of experience in supervision or administration of social services
  • Strong clinical skills and experience providing clinical consultation
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to lead group meetings.
  • Ability to lead with initiative, discretion, maturity, flexibility, and independent judgment
  • Demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the various cultural and socioeconomic characteristics of clients and staff
  • Demonstrated leadership in promoting the advancement and development of diversity, equity, and inclusion in oneself, staff, and within program development
  • Strong decision-making skills, including critical thinking skills. Demonstrated ability to think globally
  • Experience writing home studies and licensing families through Washington State Foster Care Systems
  • Knowledge of the SAFE (Structured Assessment Family Evaluation) home study model a plus
  • Successful experience in program development and implementation preferred

Additional Information

The Associate Director of Programs - Foster Care is based in our Pierce County office and will be expected to have a presence at both campuses. The position requires some evening and weekend hours for community events, meetings, and presentations.

Salary and Benefits

This is a full time, 40 hour per week position with a starting salary of $63,450 - $68,750, DOE. Generous personal leave and benefits package, including paid time off, paid sabbatical, health, vision and dental insurance, 401k with a company match, life and disability insurance.

Criminal Background Check

Because this position has access to confidential client, employee, or financial information OR direct interaction with children, any final candidate hired into this position must successfully pass a criminal background check performed by the State of Washington. Any job offer is contingent on successfully passing this background check. A list of disqualifying convictions for this position is available at

To Apply

To express your interest in this position, please submit your resume and one-page cover letter indicating why this position is the right opportunity for you in Smart Recruiters. Resumes submitted without a cover letter will not be considered.

Amara is an Equal Opportunity Employer

**Worksite information during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Currently, our offices are closed, except for a few key services that we provide, and our staff are largely working from home.  We are dedicated to maintaining a safe work environment with robust pandemic protocols, PPE supplies and ample space for our staff to work safely alone, if their position requires in-office work.