Supporting families

Resource guides, tip sheets, and webinars to inform the support you provide to families who are fostering and adopting.

New tool!

The Support Services Assessment Tool (150 KB Excel doc.) and companion guide (1.7 MB PDF) are designed to help administrators and other leaders assess and improve the services offered to foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

Use this tool to plan and conduct a robust review of your support-service array and consider ways to strengthen your services.


Barriers and Success Factors in Adoption from Foster Care: Perspectives of Families and Staff (2.1 MB PDF)
An AdoptUSKids report on barriers experienced by families and factors that contribute to successful outcomes.

Creating and Sustaining Effective Respite Services: Lessons from the Field (1 MB PDF); en espanol (1.6 MB PDF) Understanding the value of respite care in achieving improved outcomes for parents and youth and building program capacity to sustain respite care programs after time-limited grants have ended.

Equipping Foster Parents to Actively Support Reunification (153 KB PDF)
Strategies, tips, and ideas from the field to help you support foster parents as they work toward reunification and feel supported after children return home.

Evaluating Family Support Programs (181 KB PDF)
Common approaches and tools for evaluation and reasons to evaluate your family support program.

Every Month Is Customer Service Month (107 KB PDF)
Simple ways to partner with prospective and current parents by integrating customer service principles in your daily work.

Five Things You Can Do to Improve Customer Service—Phone Interaction with Families (186 KB PDF)
Simple steps for improving service to prospective foster, adoptive, and kinship families.

How Child Welfare Systems Are Providing Family Support: Respite Care Services (158 KB)
A tip sheet describing several forms and categories of respite care.

How Child Welfare Systems Are Providing Family Support: Support for Youth (147 KB PDF)
A tip sheet describing several forms and categories of support.

How Family Support Connects to Child and Family Services Reviews Outcomes (163 KB PDF)
Tip sheet providing information and examples about how support services relate to several items that are part of the third round of the CFSRs.

How to Keep Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents Engaged Before Placement (185 KB PDF)
Eight ideas for supporting prospective parents while they wait for a placement.

Integrating Family Support from Inquiry Throughout Placement (185 KB PDF)
Reasons to integrate support at each stage of a family’s journey and tips for doing it.

Peer Support: A Key Strategy for Supporting Resource Families in Tribal Communities
A tip sheet for tribal child welfare systems highlighting the value of peer support.

Providing Peer Support for Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families
A tip sheet highlighting how peer support can address the support needs of resource families, as well as different examples from the field.  

Support Matters: Lessons from the Field on Services for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Care Families (2 MB PDF)
Shares information from leaders in the field about implementing support services, including forming public/private partnerships, accessing funding, assessing a program’s ability to engage families, and evaluating how services make a difference in the lives of children, youth, and families.

Support Matters tip sheets:

Taking a Break: Creating Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Respite in Your Community (2 MB PDF) / en español (1.4 MB PDF)
Steps to developing a respite program, including sample forms for use in the day-to-day operation of your program.

Taking a Break: Creating Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Respite in Your Community (2 MB PDF) / en español (1.4 MB PDF)
Steps to developing a respite program, including sample forms for use in the day-to-day operation of your program.

Ten Things You Can Do to Improve Customer Service—Prospective Parent Orientation Sessions (201 KB PDF)
Simple ideas for creating a more welcoming and encouraging environment.


Developing and Supporting Prospective and Current Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families
This 2018 webinar highlights strategies, program models, and key considerations to help child welfare leaders design and implement approaches to develop, support, and sustain a pool of families equipped to meet children’s needs.

Developing and Supporting Families in Transitioning from Foster Care to Adoption
In this 2019 webinar, panelists discuss the importance of concurrent planning, development, and support for foster families who are adopting the children in their care.

Effective Facilitation of Parent Support Groups
The session explores why effective facilitation is essential and prepares you to manage groups for parents and caregivers.

Engaging Parents and Caregivers in Support Groups
This 2018 webinar explores what parent group leaders can do to engage adoptive, foster, and kinship parents and keep them connected to new or existing support groups.

Peer Support Strategies for Kinship, Foster, and Adoptive Families in Tribal Communities
This 2019 webinar highlights the key role that peer-led support can play in helping resource families in tribal communities to thrive. Presenters discuss the many forms peer support can take and offer concrete strategies for incorporating it.

Strategies for Implementing Family Support Services
Presenters discuss different types of support services, approaches to partnerships for providing support services, assessing the need for support, and strategies for implementation of support services.

Using Facebook Groups to Support Families After Placement
Topics discussed in this 2018 webinar include the value of online support, the role of the moderator, and how to set up an online group.