E-Notes, the monthly newsletter from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.
National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids / E-Notes

Preparing for Annual Progress and Services Reports

This issue of E-Notes provides information and resources to help you incorporate diligent recruitment planning efforts as you prepare to submit your Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR).

Why Is the NRCDR Talking About APSRs in March?

In the coming months, you may be updating your diligent recruitment plan as you prepare to submit your Annual Progress and Services Report (APSR) in June. Although your APSR isn’t due for a few months, your child welfare system can take advantage of the APSR process as a rich opportunity to assess your progress on your diligent recruitment efforts and identify areas you want to expand or modify in the next year.

Your diligent recruitment plan is most useful when it is a living document that is created collaboratively with staff and stakeholders, continuously updated, and referred to as a guide for your work. You can strengthen your process for updating your diligent recruitment plan for your APSR by beginning discussions earlier in the spring and allowing more time before the APSR is due.

Our Diligent Recruitment Navigator can be a helpful tool to help you structure those discussions (see article that follows). Keep in mind:

  • A lot may have changed in your child welfare system since you originally created your diligent recruitment plan. You can use this opportunity to re-assess what’s working (and what’s not working as well) and to consider what aspects of the plan should be adjusted to reflect changes in your state or tribe that affect your work.
  • It is never too late to engage your stakeholders! It is important to think about who should be involved in reviewing and updating your diligent recruitment plan, even if some of these stakeholders weren’t involved when you developed the plan.
  • Share your diligent recruitment plan with staff and stakeholders so they too can use it as a guide. They can also be a valuable resource in sharing relevant accomplishments and informing the evolution of the plan.

We encourage you to make diligent recruiting planning an ongoing process, so that when your APSR is due, you have an updated diligent recruitment plan that reflects your current practice and context, lessons learned, and the input of your staff and stakeholders.

Tools IconTools You Can Use

Using the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to Help with Your APSR

Screen shot of Diligent Recruitment Navigator page As you prepare to work on your APSR, it will be helpful to check in with staff and other key stakeholders about the progress you’re making with your diligent recruitment efforts, and to note areas of strength and concern. Our Diligent Recruitment Navigator can be helpful in planning and facilitating these conversations, enriching the discussion, and enhancing the process of developing your plan or assessing ongoing progress. NRCDR’s Diligent Recruitment Navigator is a customizable tool that helps guide States, Tribes, and Territories through their own process of developing a comprehensive, multifaceted diligent recruitment program. The Diligent Recruitment Navigator provides suggested discussion questions tailored to your child welfare system and recommends people to engage in the process of developing a diligent recruitment plan.

State and tribal examples:

  • One state used the Diligent Recruitment Navigator as a guide to facilitate discussions with staff and key stakeholders around the state at regional meetings, aligning the elements of the Diligent Recruitment Navigator with the individual required elements for the diligent recruitment plan as part of the state’s Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP). State agency staff used the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to prepare for individual meetings for each region in the state; the discussion questions provided by the Diligent Recruitment Navigator provided staff with a consistent framework for each regional discussion without having a rigid structure for getting input from staff and stakeholders.

    From the state: “We used the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to guide our conversations with staff, foster and adoptive parents, and key stakeholders in preparation for the CFSP. The Navigator was a step-by-step tool that helped us clarify key elements for each component.”
  • One tribe is using the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to enhance the process of developing their recruitment plan. While they are still gathering data, the Diligent Recruitment Navigator gave them a starting point and helped them pinpoint the types of recruitment strategies that best fit the needs of the children in custody. They have identified the need to increase the number of certified foster homes and also adoptive homes for older children, and are addressing this need by targeting their tribal communities and gathering data to ensure that they are recruiting in the geographical areas from which their children are removed. They believe they will experience fewer placement disruptions and faster reunifications if they are able to keep children in their communities of origin.

The Diligent Recruitment Navigator is a flexible tool that can be used in multiple ways to support planning, assessment, and implementation of diligent recruitment efforts. We have worked with many child welfare systems to help them tailor how they use the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to meet their system’s needs.

  • Learn more from our tip sheet Using the Diligent Recruitment Navigator Effectively (PDF – 75 KB).
  • NRCDR staff are available to provide coaching and capacity building technical assistance to support states and tribes in effectively implementing their customized Diligent Recruitment Navigator. We can help you think through ways that the Diligent Recruitment Navigator can be used to meet the specific needs and fit the context in your child welfare system.

Archived Webinar: Data-driven Diligent Recruitment: Partnering and Prioritizing to Strengthen Your System’s Use of Data

If you missed this NRCDR webinar in February or want to share it with colleagues, it is now available for viewing and sharing as a Flash file or on our YouTube channel.

This webinar can help you to prioritize the data elements needed to inform your diligent recruitment planning and prepare to provide information in your APSR that demonstrates the functioning of the licensing and recruitment systemic factor.

This webinar:

  • Explores ways that child welfare systems can build your capacity to use data effectively to inform your recruitment, development, and support of foster, adoptive, and kinship families to meet the needs of children and youth in care
  • Provides strategies and resources for advancing cross-unit collaboration and prioritizing data needed to strengthen your system’s use of data
  • Highlights a real example from Arizona, a state child welfare system that is demonstrating the power of a strong partnership between data and program staff to inform data-driven recruitment efforts

Newspaper IconNews and Announcements

Proposed Changes to AFCARS

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) describing proposed changes to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). ACF is inviting public comments on the proposed changes. In order for comments on the NPRM to be considered, ACF must receive the written comments by mail or electronically on or before April 10, 2015. Read more and find instructions for commenting at regulations.gov.

The NPRM states: “This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) builds on an earlier proposed rule, published January 11, 2008 that addressed the requirements for State title IV-E agencies to collect and report data to ACF on children who are in out-of-home care and in subsidized adoption or guardianship arrangements with the State and AFCARS penalty requirements of the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003. This NPRM proposes many of the same changes and additions as the earlier NPRM and includes several new modifications to address changes made by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, such as collecting and reporting data related to the title IV-E guardianship assistance program, sibling placement, the extension of title IV-E assistance to children age 18 or older, educational stability plans and transition plans for children in foster care and the inclusion of Tribal title IV-E agencies. Additionally, modifications were made to address new requirements in the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, which was enacted on September 29, 2014 to include information on: Victims of sex trafficking, children in foster care who are pregnant or parenting, and children in non-foster family settings.”

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AdoptUSKids is operated by the Adoption Exchange Association and is made possible by grant number 90CQ0003 from the Children’s Bureau. The contents of this email are solely the responsibility of the Adoption Exchange Association and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Children’s Bureau, ACYF, ACF, or HHS. The Children’s Bureau funds AdoptUSKids as part of a network of National Resource Centers established by the Children’s Bureau. Find out more about us.

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