In 2008, the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded eight 5-year demonstration grants for the diligent recruitment of families for children in foster care. One of those grants was provided to the Ramsey County Community Human Services Department (RCCHSD) to develop, implement, and evaluate a multifaceted recruitment plan and systems change project to increase the number of foster and adoptive homes, with a particular focus on African-American and Hispanic children and youth ages 12 and older. To achieve this, the project, titled the Permanent Families Recruitment Project (PFRP), used the following strategies:
- Involving stakeholders. The project included input from foster and adoptive parents, youth in foster care, adopted youth, RCCHSD staff, and community members, to identify barriers to permanency and how to improve permanency outcomes for youth. Early in the project, it formed a Youth Advisory Group to assist with various facets of the project.
- Enhancing recruitment. Using a system assessment and onsite technical assistance from AdoptUSKids, PFRP was able to make several changes to improve its recruitment process, including developing a customer service practice model and establishing a Permanency Recruitment Specialist position.
- Developing a customized training curriculum. The project developed six new training modules to support existing and prospective foster and adoptive parents. Topics included appropriate discipline, educational success, reactive attachment disorder, and others.
- Implementing concurrent permanency planning practice. Through policy development, implementation planning, and training, the project instituted concurrent permanency planning practice within the agency. The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections assisted the project with this effort.
- Collecting and utilizing data. The project was in the midst of designing and developing a stand-alone pre-licensure data collection and reporting system to examine key management and evaluation issues.
Preliminary evaluation data show promising results. The total number of inquiries about becoming a foster or adoptive parent increased from 191 in 2009 to 258 in 2012, and from October 2009 to October 2012, 78 African-American families have become licensed. Additionally, customer satisfaction surveys indicated improvement on several indicators, such as staff returning calls promptly, staff encouragement to become a foster parent, and staff assistance through the process.
For more information about the project, visit
Reprinted from Children's Bureau Express, "Site Visit: Diligent Recruitment in Ramsey County (Minnesota)" (https://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov)