CWConf18 Keynote Speaker
Red Team Thinking in Foster Care:
The foster care system is failing to protect children across the country. Yet, those who control the system court failure in predictable and repeatable ways. Red Teaming is the ability to think critically about a problem. Thinking critically and challenging the conventional wisdom of a group is often unnatural for most people. However, for the foster care system to improve, we must think differently about foster care. To do this, we must first become aware of our bias and false assumptions. We must learn to adopt a skeptical state of mind, question our own assumptions, and consider multiple points of view. Red team thinking in foster care uses tools and techniques that challenge single and strongly held views by examining alternative explanations. It uses techniques such as devil’s advocacy to expose faulty reasoning, four ways of seeing to examine multiple perspectives, and frameworks such as the string of pearls to rigorously analyze unintended consequences and help prevent assuming away the problem. Dr. Schwandt has used this mindset to uncover radical, yet innovative ideas, to improve foster care. These ideas include placing the parents in foster care (not the child), creating a bachelor’s degree in foster care, professionalizing foster care, establishing a foster care bond to allow citizens to have a vested interest in assisting foster children, and using blockchain technology in foster care.
Dr. Jamie Schwandt is a former foster child and author of three books for foster children: Succeeding as a Foster Child, Finding Your Hero, and Succeeding as a Foster Child a Workbook. He is also a U.S. Army Major, where he is a lean six sigma master black belt and red team member. As an advocate for foster children, Jamie is challenging the foster care system to think differently about foster care.