Retaining resource families helps to ensure continuity of care for children within the child welfare system. It is essential that child welfare systems identify and implement effective, integrated approaches to recruiting, developing, and supporting foster, adoptive, and kinship families in order to have an available pool of resource families that can meet the needs of children and youth in care. Find resources below related to retaining and supporting resource families.
A CHAMPS Guide on Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention: Strategies for Developing a Comprehensive Program (PDF - 2,587 KB)
Children Need Amazing Parents (2019)
Draws on the existing body of resources and information related to quality foster parent retention and identifies six key drivers of better outcomes. The guide provides useful information and suggestions for innovative, promising approaches to include in diligent recruitment plans. The guide encourages agencies to go beyond writing a plan, spurring new and improved programming resulting in agency-wide prioritization of foster parenting.
The Dynamics of Foster Home Recruitment and Retention (PDF - 135 KB)
Wulczyn, Orlebeke, Hislop, Schmits, McClanahan, & Huang (2018)
The Center for State Child Welfare Data
Focuses on how data might be used to generate the evidence needed to design effective strategies to improve recruitment and retention efforts.
Five Strategies for Successful Recruitment and Retention of Children and Families in Human Service Programs (PDF - 5,290 KB)
Barnes-Proby, Schultz, Jaycox, & Ayer (2017)
Identifies the challenges of engaging children and families in human services programs and provides steps for recruiting and retaining families and developing a comprehensive plan through five strategies. The toolkit, which is intended for clinicians, practitioners, and program administrators, also includes templates, forms, and other resources to help develop activities for each strategy.
Foster Parent Retention: What Are the Foster Parents Saying?
Foster Focus, 6(11)
Reviews the results of a survey conducted by The Foster Care Institute.
How to Keep Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents Engaged Before Placement (PDF - 143 KB)
Showcases eight ideas to help child welfare professionals keep families engaged by creating a web of information and support for the families, giving them spaces and opportunities to voice concerns they may not feel comfortable sharing with their caseworkers, affording them opportunities to learn and refine parenting skills, and providing them insight into life as an adoptive or foster family.
Keeping Up With the Caseload: How to Recruit and Retain Foster Parents
Haskins, Kohomban, & Rodriguez (2019)
Highlights key findings from a national convening of public and private child welfare agency staff, foster parents, youth formerly in care, issue experts, policymakers, advocates, and philanthropic leaders that focused on common challenges and best practices for foster parent recruitment and retention efforts.
National Foster Care Month: Supporting Caregivers While Promoting Positive Outcomes [Video]
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Shares child welfare workers and resource parents’ perspectives on best practices for supporting and retaining foster families.
Resources for Foster Parents
The Annie E.Casey Foundation (2018)
Identifies 10 online resources aimed at helping caregivers succeed in this critical role.
Some Welcome Federal Input on Foster Home Recruitment and Family Visitation
Highlights two Information Memoranda (IM) recently issued by the Children’s Bureau on topics that can strengthen and enhance data-driven foster parent recruitment and retention, along with other related topics. One IM highlights the importance of using technology to support the recruitment, approval, and retention of foster homes.
Special Issue Introduction: Finding, Supporting, and Maintaining Adoptive Families for Children in Foster Care
Madden & McRoy (2017)
Adoption Quarterly, 20
Includes articles that answer questions about how agencies find families for children needing placement; the experiences of these families and children before and after adoption; and the most effective recruitment, preparation, and retention strategies for families seeking to adopt from foster care.
Strategies for Successfully Recruiting and Retaining Preferred-Placement Foster Homes for American Indian Children: Maintaining Culture and Compliance With the Indian Child Welfare Act (PDF - 7,412 KB)
Killos, Lucero, Kauffmann, Brammer, Freemont & Maher (2017)
University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families, Graduate School of Social Work, & Casey Family Programs
Shares strategies used by Tribal and State teams working to increase the number of foster placements for American Indian children that reflect the children's culture and comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The guide also discusses trauma, the history of American Indian child removals, and the importance of recruiting and retaining ICWA-preferred placements.
Understanding the Story: Family Mosaics Discussion Guide (PDF - 208 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2019)
Provides guidance to facilitate activities and group discussions to build a common understanding of what it means to see foster care as a support to families, not a substitute for parents. Activities in the discussion guide are designed to be used with the family mosaic videos. Individuals can use activities to reflect on how to sharpen relationship-building skills, and teams can use activities to identify the barriers to working in partnership, find collective solutions, and monitor practice change over time.
Using Data to Improve the Inquiry-To-Licensing Experience for Families
Explains how child welfare agencies can use response system data combined with effective engagement strategies to increase the number of families who move forward to licensure and approval to become resource homes. The article summarizes challenges identified by families and child welfare staff and presents suggestions for addressing those challenges.
Why Keeping Current Foster Parents Can Be More Important Than Recruiting New Ones
Discusses the need to retain foster parents in California, the challenges caseworkers and foster parents encounter during the process, and the importance of providing support services, such as the family liaison position.