Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Child and Family Services (PA-CFS) 22: Resource Family Recruitment

Resource family recruitment ensures that a diverse group of individuals and families can be prepared to meet the needs of children and their families.

NA The agency is not responsible for resource family recruitment.
2020 Edition




Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. 
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.  
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.   
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner. 
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.   
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Resource family recruitment plan
  • Aggregate resource family recruitment data for the previous 12 months
  • Recruitment materials
  • Website or book with photo listings, if available
  • Resource family orientation curricula and/or materials
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Resource parents
  • Review resource parent records


PA-CFS 22.01

In an effort to ensure that suitable resource families are available, the agency: 
  1. informs the community about the valuable role that resource parents play, and how to become a resource parent; 
  2. collects and analyzes data on the children in care and the resource families caring for children to determine needs, existing resources, and characteristics of successful resource families;
  3. establishes an annual recruitment plan based on its analysis; 
  4. includes provisions for general and targeted recruitment strategies in the plan; and
  5. evaluates the success of the plan annually.

NA The agency is not responsible for non-kinship resource family recruitment.
Examples: A recruitment plan can specify how carefully crafted language, images, and strategies, including partnerships with key stakeholders, can help the agency reach out and appeal to audiences who may be willing and able to foster or adopt the children in need of homes, including children with special placement needs (e.g., sibling groups; older children; children with physical, emotional, behavioral, and developmental issues; children of minority racial or ethnic groups; LGBTQ children; and/or youth who are pregnant or parenting). For example, if it has proven difficult to find homes for teenagers, the agency might look for prospective resource parents among high school parents, coaches, and after school programs. Similarly, if the agency wishes to recruit resource parents from particular ethnic or racial groups it might seek to engage specific cultural organizations, churches, or minority-owned businesses. Agencies placing American Indian and Alaska Native children can partner with tribes and Indian organizations to identify placements through joint recruitment efforts. Other key stakeholders can include, but are not limited to: family foster care alumni; current resource parents; community leaders; and other organizations, agencies, institutions, and businesses in the community.


PA-CFS 22.02

The agency utilizes intensive child-specific recruitment strategies that include: 
  1. extensive efforts to identify all family members, former caregivers, and other adults with a connection to the child who might consider serving as resource parents for the child or who might identify other potential resource parents; 
  2. involving the child in identifying potential resource parents and the characteristics and situations that might be preferred by the child; 
  3. using creative and customized outreach strategies to identify and explore additional options based on the child’s strengths, needs, interests, and background; and
  4. when a child’s goal is changed to adoption, continuing to search for adoptive parents until the child exits care.



Agencies that use online photo listing services for children awaiting adoption should ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect confidential information and respect an individual's right to refuse to have their photo taken.
Examples: Some aspects of child-specific recruitment may begin prior to or upon separation and be an extension of the efforts undertaken during assessment, service planning, and permanency planning. Other aspects may be launched anew if a child’s goal is changed to adoption.  

Other adults with a connection to the child can include but are not limited to: teachers, coaches, tutors, counselors, and neighbors. Creative and customized outreach might include, for example, reaching out to local athletic clubs if a child loves sports.  


PA-CFS 22.03

In an effort to help prospective resource families determine if providing care or permanency would be a positive experience for both their family and the children that could enter their care, the agency provides general information about: 
  1. the certification process and requirements, including the resource family assessment experience and timeline;
  2. available supports and services;
  3. eligibility requirements;
  4. any applicable fees and reimbursements;
  5. the roles, responsibilities, and needed competencies of resource parents;
  6. what resource families should expect when they take in a child;
  7. common needs and characteristics of children in care; and
  8. next steps in the process.


PA-CFS 22.04

Prospective resource families are engaged in the recruitment process through: 
  1. a welcoming and supportive approach that encourages prospective families to move forward with the process;
  2. equitable, timely, sensitive, and culturally-responsive follow-up at each step of the process;
  3. personalized contact with current resource families; and
  4. open houses, orientations, and training sessions that are accessible and inviting to all prospective resource families.