Finding families

Resource guides, tip sheets, and webinars to inform your general and targeted recruitment efforts.

On this page:

General recruitment


Making the Most of Your Recruitment Efforts: Effective Response System Strategies (144 KB PDF)
Highlights the value and characteristics of effective response systems and provides ideas for implementation.

Creating Effective Narratives for Children Waiting to Be Adopted (1 MB PDF)
Guidance for writing narratives that protect children’s safety, privacy, and dignity.

Creating Strengths-Based Profiles for Children and Youth Waiting to Be Adopted; a Guide for Administrators and Managers (2 MB PDF)
Information about how to shape systems to ensure the most effective—and protective—public profiles of children waiting to be adopted.

Characteristics of Successful Recruitment Practitioners (198 KB PDF)
Qualities of effective recruiters.

Finding a Fit that Will Last a Lifetime: A Guide to  Connecting Adoptive Families With Waiting Children (402 KB PDF) / en español (280 KB PDF)
Effective ways of bringing waiting children and families together, with insights shared by families, youth, and professionals.

Improving Recruitment Outcomes: 11 Things a Practitioner Can Do (206 KB PDF)
Steps recruiters can take to find and keep more foster and adoptive families.

Practitioner’s Guide: Getting More Parents for Children from Your Recruitment Efforts (275 KB PDF) / en español (288 KB PDF)
Promising practices for keeping families involved from the first time they contact your agency until the time a child is placed with them.

Using Customer Service Concepts to Enhance Recruitment and Retention Practices (82.5 MB PDF)
An overview and guide for agency leaders in assessing, developing, and implementing policies and practices to support good customer service.

Using Integrated Recruitment and Support to Build a Strong Pool of Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (123 KB PDF)
Overview of integrated family recruitment and support and ideas for taking small and large steps toward a more integrated approach.


Effective Photolisting: Best Practices for Developing Strengths-Based Narratives
This 2017 webinar presents updated AdoptUSKids guidance on how to write narratives that highlight a child’s strengths while protecting their privacy and dignity.

Developing Strengths-Based Narratives for Public Recruitment: Strategies for Leaders and Managers
Topics covered in this 2018 webinar include developing an agency culture and implementing policies and practices that promote strengths-based recruitment efforts.

Finding Families: AdoptUSKids Photolisting Demo for Professionals
This 2016 demo walks participants through the steps of using the family finding functions of the AdoptUSKids photolisting. The meeting includes an overview of systems-level considerations to support agencies in using the tool effectively.

Improving Child Welfare Outcomes Through Family Engagement: Using Customer Service Concepts to Recruit and Develop Resource Families
Presenters discuss the benefits of engaging and supporting different groups of key stakeholders (customers), including child welfare staff and prospective and current foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

Recruiting, Developing, and Supporting Treatment and/or Therapeutic Resource Families
Information and considerations related to the recruitment, development, and support of treatment and therapeutic foster families.

Families for teens and siblings


Engaging, Developing, and Supporting Prospective Families for Sibling Groups (98 KB PDF)
Importance of supporting families from first contact with your agency and tips for engaging families to help them build capacity to adopt sibling groups.

Going Beyond Recruitment for Older Youth: Increasing Your System’s Capacity to Respond to Prospective Parents and Prepare Older Youth for Adoption (648 KB PDF)
Strategies, resources, and key steps for building capacity to recruit and retain families and to prepare older youth for adoption.

Practice Principles and Seven-Step Process for Sibling Recruitment (384 KB PDF)
Key considerations and practice tips for keeping siblings together or connected.

Talking With Older Youth About Adoption (1.1 MB PDF)
Tip sheet developed collaboratively with Child Welfare Information Gateway with tips and key considerations for talking with older youth about the idea of being adopted.

Ten Realities of Sibling Adoption (913 KB PDF)
Importance of keeping siblings connected and benefits of placing siblings together.

Tip sheets on recruiting families for preteens (696 KB PDF)
Recruiting prospective families for preteens in foster care, preparing preteens for adoption, and developing child profiles.


In Their Own Words: Lifting Up Youth Voices to Promote Permanency for Older Youth (National Adoption Month 2018)
Professionals, youth, and young adults talk about how to incorporate youth voices in promoting permanency and how to develop public platforms that inform local and statewide permanency efforts.

Promoting and Supporting Sibling Connections (National Adoption Month 2014)
Ways to support sibling connections and find families for sibling groups; creative strategies for engaging youth and families to raise awareness of the importance of sibling connections; and tools you can use to assess and support sibling placement.

We Never Outgrow the Need for Family–Just Ask Us: Talking With Older Youth About Adoption (2016 National Adoption Month)
A panel discussion with two young adults formerly in foster care, an adoptive parent, and an adoption professional, about how to have more effective and meaningful conversations with teenagers about permanency.

Using media and social media


Instant Family: Tips for Child Welfare Systems (145 KB PDF)
Tips and strategies for preparing to respond to an increase in inquries when a movie like Instant Family raises awareness of foster care and adoption.

Media Toolkit for Child Welfare Leaders (553 KB PDF)
Tips and strategies for working effectively with the media.

Partnering for Permanency: How Public Information Officers Can Partner to Promote Adoption from Foster Care (469 KB PDF)
Strategies and resources for raising awareness about the need for adoptive families.

Partnering for Permanency: Promoting Adoption through Effective Communication Efforts (498 KB PDF)
Increasing the reach and impact of the National Adoption Recruitment Campaign and Response Initiative to raise awareness about the need for families for youth in foster care.

Partnering for Permanency: Working with Your Public Information Officer (239 KB PDF)
Helping child welfare program leaders understand the role of public information officers and develop effective strategies for partnering with them.

Publications—social media

Developing a Terms of Use Policy for Your Agency’s Facebook Page (275 KB PDF)
Benefits and best practices, including a sample “terms of use” policy from the AdoptUSKids’ Facebook page.

Facebook 101 for Child Welfare Professionals: An Introduction to Using Facebook to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (281 KB PDF)
Understanding how Facebook works and whether it is a useful tool for your agency.

Facebook 201 for Child Welfare Professionals: Strategies and Best Practices for Using Facebook to Reach  Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (386 KB PDF)
Tips and best practices to get the most out of your agency’s Facebook page.

Twitter 101 for Child Welfare Professionals: An Introduction to Using Twitter to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (281 KB PDF)
Understanding if Twitter is right for your agency.

Twitter 201 for Child Welfare Professionals: Strategies and Best Practices for Using Twitter to Reach Foster,  Adoptive, and Kinship Families (369 KB PDF)
Tips and best practices for getting the most out of a Twitter account.

Which Social Networks Should Your Agency Use to Reach Families?"
A decision flowchart for identifying which social networks an agency should use, if any.


Localizing the National Adoption Recruitment Campaign (2015):

The Power of Positive Stories: Using a Speakers Bureau for Recruitment
Describes how AdoptUSKids uses a national speakers bureau to promote positive stories and increase awareness of foster care and adoption—including among members of the media and potential foster and adoptive families.