Increasingly, resource families are seen as key players in the team working to achieve permanency for children in foster care. When relatives or kin are not available, resource families are called upon to provide the support and stability a child needs at the most critical time of their lives—when they are removed from their homes. To ensure the needs of each child entering care are met, child welfare agencies have the difficult task of building and maintaining an adequate pool of resource families. The ability to match each child with an appropriate, loving family is critical and can lay the foundation for successful outcomes. This section includes an array of approaches and strategies that child welfare agencies can use to recruit a range of resource families.
Diligent Recruitment Tools
Offers tools and publications for professionals to use in their recruitment efforts.
Ethics and Family Recruitment
Freundlich & Gerstenzang (2016)
Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York
Reviews the ethics and goals of adoption photolistings and explores other child-specific recruitment strategies. Also discussed are guidelines for developing recruitment materials that introduce the child in a manner that conveys his/her uniqueness without divulging personal facts.
The Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition
Compiles an array of resource documents designed to assist permanency workers in finding families and establishing lasting connections for youth in foster care.
Family Finding Evaluations: A Summary of Recent Findings (PDF - 444 KB)
Child Trends (2015)
Reviews the results from 13 evaluations of Family Finding that have been released over the past 2 years. The Family Finding model provides child welfare practitioners with intensive search and engagement techniques to identify family members and other adults close to a child in foster care in order to involve these adults in developing and carrying out a plan for the emotional and legal permanency of the child.
Foster and Kinship Parent Recruitment and Support: Best Practice Inventory (PDF - 1,731 KB)
Redlich Horwitz Foundation (2017)
Represents consensus from the field about the key steps needed to recruit and retain kin and non-kin foster parents. Best practices include identifying and engaging kinship caregivers, using trauma-informed preservice and skills training curricula, creating community networks to support foster parents, and more.
A National Campaign to Improve Foster Care (PDF - 1,198 KB)
Discusses the challenges child welfare agencies face in selecting, training, and certifying foster parents and presents a national campaign called Children Need Amazing Parents (CHAMPS) to promote quality foster parent recruitment. CHAMPS is designed to work with State policymakers, child welfare administrators, and advocates to leverage research and spur policy reforms in up to 25 States over the next 5 years.
The National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness
Seneca Family of Agencies, National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness (2017)
Explains the Family Finding model, which includes tools and strategies to locate and engage relatives and other supportive adults of children and youth in foster care.
Recruitment Ideas & Overcoming Barriers to Placement of Teens
You Gotta Believe
Provides selected resources for learning how to recruit homes for teens in foster care and how to overcome the barriers to recruiting homes and placing teens in permanent homes.
Resource Parent Recruitment and Training Programs
California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC)
Lists programs that focus on the location, identification, and education of families who are interested in being foster parents. These programs have been reviewed and, if appropriate, rated using the scientific rating scale created by CEBC.
Revitalizing Recruitment and Retention of Foster Parents
New York State Office of Children and Family Services & Welfare Research, Inc.
Includes practical strategies for recruiting and retaining foster, adoptive, and kinship families, as well as a blueprint for putting diligent recruitment into action with hands-on, step-by-step tools and tips. This resource was developed with funding from the Children’s Bureau.
Wendy's Wonderful Kids Research
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Presents findings from an evaluation of adoptive family recruitment strategies for children in foster care. The results indicate that child-focused recruitment models were significantly more successful than other approaches.