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Resource Guides and Curricula for
Child Welfare Staff
These resources are designed to help child welfare agencies build their staff’s capacity in best practices for recruiting and retaining foster and adoptive families. You can download them below or order printed copies. Both are free of charge for both public and private agencies.
- General Recruitment Resources
- Targeted Recruitment Resources
- Child-Specific Recruitment Resources
- Interstate and Interjurisdictional Placement Resources
- Family Retention Resources
- Research and Government Reports
- Other Recommendations and Resources
For brief tip sheets and tools designed for the busy child welfare professional, see our quick tips and tools for recruitment and retention.
Empower your staff with ideas for building public interest and awareness of the need for foster and adoptive parents for children in foster care.
- Practitioner’s Guide: Getting More Parents for Children from Your Recruitment Efforts (PDF – 275 KB) / En Español (PDF - 294 KB): Summarizes promising practices for keeping families involved from the first time they contact your agency until the time a child is placed with them
- 2011 National Adoption Month Capacity Building Toolkit (PDF – 2.9 MB): Provides tips and tools for agencies to celebrate National Adoption Month all year by building both agency and individual capacity to recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents
- 2009 National Adoption Month Recruitment and Marketing Toolkit (PDF – 545 KB): Provides suggestions for working with the media to raise awareness about adoption, sample press releases that you can personalize for your community, and ideas and tips for planning special events to celebrate National Adoption Month
- Evidence-Based Practices in Child Welfare Increasingly, the Children’s Bureau, and the field of child welfare in general, is focused on the utilization of evidence-based practices (EBPs) to support and achieve safety, permanency, and well-being for children, youth, and families. This website offers information and resources from the NRCPFC, the Children's Bureau/ACF/DHHS, and the T&TA Network, as well as collaborating organizations, and the States.
Develop strategies to focus and maximize the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts.
- 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
- Nuestra Familia, Nuestra Cultura (Our Family, Our Culture): Promoting and Supporting Latino Families in Adoption and Foster Care (PDF – 888 KB): Offers specific tips and techniques for building cultural competence and increasing effectiveness in working with potential foster or adoptive parents of Latino heritage
- Finding Common Ground: A Guide for Child Welfare Agencies Working With Communities of Faith (PDF – 1.3 MB): Highlights wisdom and lessons learned from successful faith-based targeted recruitment initiatives
- Wherever My Family Is, That's Home! Adoption Services for Military Families (PDF – 1.8 MB): Provides a roadmap for agencies and military personnel to make quality and timely adoption services readily available for military families
Strengthen your efforts to recruit families on behalf of individual children and specific groups of children.
- Finding a Fit that Will Last a Lifetime: A Guide to Connecting Adoptive Families With Waiting Children (PDF – 402 KB) / En Español (PDF - 246 KB): Helps build skills to match waiting children with adoptive families by sharing what families, youth, caseworkers, and researchers have learned to be the most effective ways of bringing waiting children and families together
- Lasting Impressions: A Guide for Photolisting Children (PDF – 810 KB) / En Español (PDF - 662 KB): Provides tips and worksheets on how to prepare children for being photolisted, taking photos, and writing descriptions for online and print listings (Find out how to photolist and manage cases with AdoptUSKids)
Increase your individual and agency capacity to use interjurisdictional placements to achieve permanency for children.
- Key Elements and Strategies for Effective Interjurisdictional Work (PDF – 2.2 MB): This publication focuses on real strategies and system elements that child welfare professionals have highlighted as being effective ways to support and use interjurisdictional placements in child welfare work. It includes real case studies of interjurisdictional placements and tools and resources to help build agencies’ capacity for 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.
Beyond Borders: Achieving Child Permanence Across Geographic Boundaries (Flash – 20:23 min.): A film produced by AdoptUSKids featuring professionals sharing stories and expertise about the value of interjurisdictional placements and how to make them work.
- Beyond Borders DVD Companion Guide (PDF - 260KB): Discussion questions you can use with administrators, managers, supervisors, and front-line personnel with the video to the right
- Dollars and Sense: A Guide to Achieving Adoptions Through Public-Private Contracting (PDF – 264 KB): Serves as a starting point on purchase of service for States and Counties and the private agencies they work with to help make interjurisdictional adoption services truly work
- Interjurisdictional Placement of Children in the Child Welfare Process: Improving the Process (PDF – 1.2 MB): An AdoptUSKids report for the Children’s Bureau highlighting the existing barriers to interjurisdictional placements, efforts being undertaken to address those barriers, and suggestions for making improvements
Learn about approaches for supporting and retaining foster, adoptive, and kinship families from their first inquiry through placement and beyond.
- Using Customer Service Concepts to Enhance Recruitment and Retention Practices (PDF – 852 KB): This publication provides child welfare agency leaders with an overview of customer service concepts that can help with recruitment and retention of foster, adoptive, and kinship families. It also serves as a guide for agency leaders in assessing, developing, and implementing relevant policies and practices to support good customer service.
- Creating and Sustaining Effective Respite Services: Lessons from the Field (PDF – 1MB) / En Espanol (PDF – 1.6 MB ): This guide is intended to help States, Tribes, and parent support organizations understand the value of respite care in achieving improved outcomes for parents and youth, and build their capacity to sustain such programs after time-limited grants have ended.
- Taking a Break: Creating Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Respite In your Community (PDF – 2MB) / En Español (PDF – 1.4 MB): This publication is a step-by-step manual for developing a respite program, including sample forms that groups can use in the day-to-day operation of their programs.
Access research, reports, and statistics related to recruitment, retention, and AdoptUSKids special projects.
- Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Families and Staff (Flash – 16:23 min.): 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 [Report (PDF – 2.1 MB) Full report to Congress (PDF – 1 MB)]
- Perspectives of Youth Adopted from Foster Care by Lesbian and Gay Parents (PDF - 608 KB): A study of youth adopted by lesbian and gay parent families for the purpose of using the findings to shape the services that AdoptUSKids provides, either directly to lesbian, gay, bisesxual, and transgender families, or through a complex and multi-faceted set of technical assistance to States, Tribes, and Territories.
- Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Lesbian and Gay Families (PDF – 2.1 MB): A follow-up report to Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Families and Staff by AdoptUSKids exploring realities of adoption for lesbian and gay families
- Recruiting Foster Parents (PDF – 772 KB): A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General highlighting the challenges facing States' recruitment programs and brief recommendations to address those challenges
- Understanding Foster Parenting: Using Administrative Data to Explore
Retention: A study by Research Triangle Institute International to understand foster parent retention and characteristics with various lengths of service in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Oregon
Find valuable recruitment and retention materials from other organizations.
- Treat Them Like Gold: A Best Practice Guide to Partnering With Resource
Families (PDF – 3.8 MB): A detailed and comprehensive guidebook of practical strategies for recruiting and retaining foster and adoptive families by the North Carolina Division of Social Services with assistance from the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina School of Social Work
- “Permanency: More Than Just Homes” (PDF – 256 KB): An article from the National CASA Association magazine The Connection describing several concrete strategies for practice, including concurrent planning and dual licensing of foster and adoptive parents
- Massachusetts Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Adolescent Permanency: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned (PDF – 4.1 MB): A report by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services on emerging themes and practices to improve the way permanency is achieved for adolescents
- Recruiting, Preparing, and Supporting Successful Adoptive Families – A Step-by Step Recruitment Guide to Educate and Empower Agencies for Recruiting Adoptive Families in Rural Communities (PDF – 7.5 MB): A report by Northeast Ohio Adoption Services on the targeted and social marketing methods used to generate more than 1,800 adoption inquiries that resulted in 64 adoptive placements