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Quick Tips and Tools for
Recruitment and Retention
These tip sheets and toolkits were designed with the busy child welfare professional in mind by the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.
You can download the resources below or order printed copies. Printed copies are free of charge for both public and private agencies.
- Using Social Media in Recruitment and Retention
- General Recruitment Tools
- Family Retention Tools
- Tools for Working With Diverse Communities
- Targeted Recruitment Tools
- Interstate and Interjurisdictional Placement Tools
- Assessment and Planning Tools
For more in-depth recruitment and retention materials, browse our resource guides and curricula for child welfare staff.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Send us your suggestions for tip sheets and tools you would like to see by contacting us at NRCRRFAP@adoptuskids.org.
These resources can help you decide if your agency is ready to use social media as a tool for recruiting and retaining families, and which networks you might consider using.
Twitter for Child Welfare Professionals
- Twitter 101 for Child Welfare Professionals: An Introduction to Using Twitter to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 281 KB): An overview of Twitter and how it could work in the context of a child welfare agency that serves foster and adoptive families
- Twitter 201 for Child Welfare Professionals: Strategies and Best Practices for Using Twitter to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 369 KB): Your guide to using Twitter with tips and best practices to get the most out of a Twitter profile for your agency’s efforts to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families
Facebook for Child Welfare Professionals
- Facebook 101 for Child Welfare Professionals: An Introduction to Using Facebook to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 281 KB): An overview of Facebook pages and how they could work in the context of a child welfare agency that serves foster and adoptive families
- Facebook 201 for Child Welfare Professionals: Strategies and Best Practices for Using Facebook to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 386 KB): Your guide to using Facebook with tips and best practices to get the most out of a Facebook page for your agency’s efforts to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families
Learn how to build public interest and awareness of the need for foster and adoptive parents for children in care.
- Characteristics of Successful Recruitment Practitioners (PDF – 198 KB): Highlights qualities many effective recruiters have in common
- Improving Recruitment Outcomes: 11 Things a Practitioner Can Do (PDF – 206 KB): Highlights specific steps recruiters can take to find and keep more foster and adoptive families
Find ideas for keeping prospective and current parents engaged and supported.
Improving Retention Through Customer Service
- Five Things You Can Do to Improve Customer Service — Phone Interaction With Families (PDF – 186 KB): Suggests simple steps for improving customer service as you interact with current and prospective foster, adoptive, and kinship families
- 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Customer Service — Prospective Parent Orientation Sessions (PDF – 201 KB): Offers simple ideas for creating a more welcoming and encouraging climate at orientations for prospective parents
- Every Month Is Customer Service Month (PDF - 107 KB): Offers ideas for simple ways to partner more effectively with prospective and current parents by integrating customer service principles in your daily work
- Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Families and Staff (PDF – 2.1 MB) An AdoptUSKids report on barriers experienced by a nationwide group of families seeking to adopt children from the U.S. foster care system and factors that contribute to successful adoption outcomes
Other Retention Resources
- Resource Family Retention: An Overview (PDF – 62 KB): A brief fact sheet by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections and Casey Family Programs outlining strategies that work for retaining foster and adoptive families for children
- “Why are Foster Parents Leaving? What Foster Parents Want Their Agencies to Know” (PDF – 244 KB): An article from Fostering Families Today magazine on how agencies can better assess, prepare, and support foster families
Build individual and agency cultural competency for working with diverse populations of children and families.
- Latino Tip Sheet Packet (PDF - 222 KB): Highlights key benefits for children of recruiting Latino foster, adoptive, and kinship families, and provides helpful information about the importance of language in working with Latino families, and includes current census information about Latinos in America
- Minority Specializing Agency Directory (PDF - 156 KB): AdoptUSKids has produced this directory to assist State and tribal child welfare agencies to expand their resources to improve safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children, and to serve as a valuable resource for minority families who are searching for an agency that can assist them to foster or adopt
- Working With African American Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families (PDF – 2.5 MB): Provides tips for becoming more culturally competent and partnering more effectively with prospective and current African American foster, adoptive, and kinship families
- Moving Toward Cultural Competence: Key Considerations to Explore (PDF – 227 KB): Assists child welfare staff in building their capacity for effective, culturally competent recruitment and retention efforts with diverse communities
- Strategies for Recruiting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF – 435 KB): Provides an introduction to the topic of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents as resources in the child welfare system, followed by a discussion of strategies for recruiting and engaging LGBT families; developed collaboratively by the National Resource Center for Adoption, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, and the National Resource Center for Recruitment and Retention of Foster and Adoptive Parents at AdoptUSKids
- LGBT Foster and Adoptive Parenting (PDF – 188 KB): Brief resource handout from the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections and AdoptUSKids provides a basic overview of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) foster and adoptive parenting issues, including research on LGBT parenting, laws and policies on LGBT foster and adoptive parenting and how agencies can better welcome, recruit and retain LGBT resource families
- Recruiting and Retaining LGBT Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families: Sending a Welcoming Message (PDF – 216 KB): Highlights the importance of using appropriate language and images to convey that your agency welcomes LGBT prospective parents in order to help improve recruitment and retention outcomes with LGBT individuals and offers specific suggestions for using welcoming, inclusive language as you work with LGBT prospective parents
- Talking with Experts on Engaging LGBT Families, Part 1: Creating a Welcoming Environment (PDF – 217 KB): Offers ideas on ways agencies can help LGBT prospective parents feel welcome through inclusive messages, explicit policies, and community connections
- Talking with Experts on Engaging LGBT Families, Part 2: How Leaders Can Build Agency Competency (PDF – 215 KB): Offers suggestions on ways supervisors, program directors, and administrators can increase staff capacity for working appropriately and sensitively with LGBT prospective and current parents
- Talking with Experts on Engaging LGBT Families, Part 3: Important Conversations in Child Welfare (PDF – 215 KB): Highlights important topics for child welfare professionals to discuss in order to help increase capacity to work with LGBT prospective and current parents
Find resources to help you recruit in specific communities or on behalf of specific populations of children.
- Going Beyond Recruitment for 14 to 16 Year Olds (PDF - 1 MB): Provides information about strategies, resources, and key steps for building child welfare systems’ capacity to recruit and retain families for older youth and to prepare older youth for adoption
- Tip Sheets on Recruiting Families for Preteens (PDF - 696 KB): Provides strategies and principles for recruiting prospective families for preteens in foster care, preparing preteens for adoption, and developing child profiles
- Why Should I Go the Extra Step to Place a Child For Adoption With an American Military Family Living in Another Country? (PDF - 210 KB): Addresses preceived barriers and concerns to placing a child with U.S. military families stations overseas
- Practice Principles and Seven-Step Process for Sibling Recruitment (PDF – 384 KB): Highlights key considerations and practice tips for keeping siblings together or connected through foster, adoptive, and kinship placements
- Ten Myths and Realities of Sibling Adoptions (PDF – 216 KB): Dispels common misconceptions about siblings being adopted
- Encouraging Your Staff to Use Photolistings in New Ways (PDF - 619 KB): A tip sheet for child welfare agency leaders and managers on how to encourage staff to use AUSK photolistings actively and in new ways to search for families for children on their caseload
- Featuring Photolisted Children—Selecting Children and Preparing Your Agency’s Response (PDF - 162 KB): A tip sheet with ideas for strategies for selecting photolisted children to feature through social media and tips for how to prepare your agency to respond effectively to prospective parents when they inquire about featured children
Learn the basic elements involved in making interjurisdictional placements.
- Agency Readiness Assessment for Interjurisdictional Placements (PDF – 148KB): This self-assessment form helps agencies identify their existing capacity for supporting and making interjurisdictional placements, focusing on the areas of training, system supports, evaluation, and recruitment.
- Receiving State Checklist: Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) (PDF – 762 KB)
- Sending State Checklist: Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) (PDF – 466 KB)
- "How Attorneys Can Improve Interstate Placements: Lessons Learned from State CIP Assessments” (PDF – 100 KB): An article in the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Child Law Practice journal detailing several strategies attorneys can use to facilitate interstate placements
Increase your understanding of your agency’s capacity and readiness for recruitment and retention efforts.
- Is Your Response System Family Friendly? (PDF – 131 KB): An agency self-assessment tool examining how well your response system meets the needs of families throughout the foster and adoptive parent recruitment process