Ten of Ten for Kids

A human-centered design approach to reimagining the child welfare system

We are thrilled to announce a 3-day National Innovation Convening designed to reimagine the child welfare system from the perspective of what children need to thrive.


Child welfare systems in the U.S. spend $28 billion annually on direct services to the 650,000 children who spend time in foster care each year. Our child welfare system is built on old knowledge that is not producing the desired results. We now know that unaddressed childhood trauma is the root of nearly every social ill we are facing, and because we know better we must do better.

It is nearly impossible to conceptualize a system beyond what currently exists (“This is how we’ve always done it!”), so reimagining child-centered child welfare services requires starting back at square one with new sets of eyes and a new approach. Enter the experts in innovation and redesign: IDEO.

IDEO (pronounced “eye-dee-oh”) is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. IDEO pioneered this approach called “design thinking” and brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It allows people who aren’t trained as designed to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. 


A 3-day, rapid-cycle, human-centered team design process facilitated by IDEO experts to give insight into recreating and rebuilding a systemic model of care for youth in or at risk of out-of-home placement. Imagine 100 people on 10 teams scribbling on flipboards, pausing for inspirational pop-up keynotes, bloggers and videographers buzzing, and a culminating Thursday evening event to share key findings.


May 23rd-25th, 2017, Minneapolis, MN
Kick-off event on May 22nd, 2017


A group of 100 individuals (10 people on each of 10 teams – Ten of Ten!) with broad and deep expertise and representing a wide range of gender, race, and industry perspectives will be carefully crafted. Teams will include child welfare service participants (families, workers, foster alum), innovative leaders in public and private child welfare systems (including White House Innovation Fellows), proven innovators outside the field of child welfare, and early adopters in philanthropy dedicated to improving child welfare. Teams will focus on all aspects of child welfare including prevention, the foster care experience, and permanent placement.

Event participants outside of teams can engage in other meaningful ways at the event, including:

  • Live blogging and tweeting
  • Keynote speaking opportunities
  • Idea sharing models such as world café or fish bowl sessions around a particular topics
  • Panel discussions
  • Presentations of most recent academic findings
  • Artistic and visual displays on child welfare or event experience/findings


Ten of Ten for Kids will create a learning, innovating, and implementing community, using each other as guides on the journey to creating the change we imagine together. Connections, partnerships, ideas, implementation projects, data collection, and inspiration will not stop after the event! Through online communities and ongoing education and knowledge sharing, we will ensure that the results of Ten of Ten for Kids – the expected and unexpected! – will not lay dormant.

As end products we envision:

  • A Top 10 list of practices that must be included in any child welfare system redesign.
  • A short list of 1-3 “finalist” jurisdictions and/or organizations from around the country willing to prototype the approach(es) that emerge from the convening process.
  • A list of pilot projects implementing clear and tangible changes that can be taken to the philanthropic community for support to be implemented, adjusted, and measured.
  • A webinar distributed nationally to share the process, highlights, and lessons learned as recorded and documented throughout the event.
  • Identification of innovators and the development of a learning community among child welfare innovation champions.

This convening is intended to accelerate the movement to fundamentally change the child welfare system and energize efforts to DO BETTER by our children. We will continue to mobilize, support, and connect the changemakers this convening will inspire within the child welfare sector and beyond.

Ten of Ten for Kids promises to be intense, and will produce clear and powerful ways to impact child welfare. Further, we are prepared to engage with other services and industries with which families and children interact, such as education, health care, and juvenile justice. Our scope for this event is child welfare and out-of-home placement, yet we are willing and prepared to convene future events and engage with other industries if that’s where the innovation leads us.


We are seeking individual, philanthropic, and corporate partnerships to support the design process to create the biggest impact. We must be sure that needed voices are able to join the conversation, that activities and ideas are recorded and shared after the event, and that IDEO is able to spend months on fundamental research and preparation for the event.

Everyone has resources to add to change the tide in child welfare, helping it to form into one that is truly healing for kids, families, and caregivers. Consider becoming a sponsoring partner.
Interested in being a Ten of Ten for Kids team member? 

Join the Movement.