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.
Developing Recruitment Plans: A Toolkit for States and Tribes
Provides tools and resources for child welfare agencies to recruit, retain, and support potential foster and adoptive families.
Offers tools and publications for professionals to use in their recruitment efforts.
Diligent Recruitment of Families for Children in the Foster Care System: Challenges and Recommendations for Policy Practice
Melz, Killian, & Graham (2019)
James Bell Associates
Describes how child welfare agencies can improve diligent recruitment practices and services for resource families.
Engaging Partners to Achieve Timely Permanency for Children and Youth Waiting to be Adopted Series
Capacity Building Center for States (2019)
Provides tips and strategies to engage organizations to help identify, recruit, prepare and support adoptive parents.
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.
Foster and Kinship Parent Recruitment and Support: Best Practice Inventory (PDF - 1,740 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.
Going to the Extreme to Find Children's Families
Describes how an agency matches social workers with private investigators to locate family members who are willing and able to care for children in out-of-home care.
The National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness
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 Kinship, Foster, and Adoptive 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.
Strategies for Successfully Recruiting and Retaining Preferred-Placement Foster Homes for American Indian Children (PDF - 7,412 KB)
University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families Graduate School of Social Work & Casey Family Programs (2017)
Highlights strategies used by Tribal and State teams working to increase the number of foster parents for American Indian children that reflect children’s culture and comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Successful Models for Recruitment and Retention of African American Adoptive Families (PDF - 1,349 KB)
Belanger, McRoy, & Haynes (2019)
The Future of Adoption
Rudd Adoption Research Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Describes models for the recruitment and retention of adoptive families, particularly rural African-American adoptive families for African-American children. Although communities are different, there are models that can be replicated to increase and stabilize recruitment of African-American families in other States.
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.