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.
The agency utilizes intensive child-specific recruitment strategies that include:
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;
involving the child in identifying potential resource parents and the characteristics and situations that might be preferred by the child;
using creative and customized outreach strategies to identify and explore additional options based on the child’s strengths, needs, interests, and background; and
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.
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:
the certification process and requirements, including the resource family assessment experience and timeline;
available supports and services;
any applicable fees and reimbursements;
the roles, responsibilities, and needed competencies of resource parents;
what resource families should expect when they take in a child;
common needs and characteristics of children in care; and
next steps in the process.
Prospective resource families are engaged in the recruitment process through:
a welcoming and supportive approach that encourages prospective families to move forward with the process;
equitable, timely, sensitive, and culturally-responsive follow-up at each step of the process;
personalized contact with current resource families; and
open houses, orientations, and training sessions that are accessible and inviting to all prospective resource families.