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

Many child welfare systems have identified the need for additional foster, kinship, and adoptive families and continue to seek ways to improve placement stability and permanency for children and youth in care. In this issue of E-Notes, we highlight concrete tools and strategies available to help you achieve the positive outcomes associated with placement stability for children, including fewer school moves, improved academic performance, decreased stress, fewer attachment and behavioral issues, and strengthened relationships. This issue of E-Notes provides ideas from the field and resources related to a key component of achieving placement stability and permanency: the recruitment of resource families.

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Placement stability and permanency

Group of teenagers The “placement stability and permanency” section of the NRCDR website provides both ideas from the field and tools and resources for each type of recruitment listed below. Select examples are highlighted here, and many more resources and ideas are available on our website.

General recruitment
General recruitment strategies help build public interest and awareness of the need for foster and adoptive parents for children and youth in foster care by broadcasting the need to a general audience. Strategies focus on drawing in a wide variety of families while setting the stage for more targeted recruitment.

Ideas from the field:

  • Develop a blog highlighting entries created by foster and adoptive parents, including stories and videos describing their experiences. The June 2013 issue of Children’s Bureau Express highlighted Kid Hero, a foster care and adoptive parent blog sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
  • Use a tribal radio station to broadcast information about Indian child welfare programs or run public service announcements (PSAs) to inform the community about foster care and the need for foster parents.

Tool/resource:

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

Targeted recruitment
Targeted recruitment considers the unique needs of children and youth by developing recruitment strategies and messages based on their needs. Effective targeted recruitment uses demographic data to inform efforts by identifying characteristics of current foster and adoptive parents and children and youth in care.

Idea from the field:

Partner with faith-based organizations interested in helping recruit foster and adoptive families from their faith community. For example, the Colorado Department of Human Services partnered with Wait No More, an initiative that develops and supports faith-based partnerships in multiple communities across the country. This was done as part of Colorado’s efforts to raise awareness among faith communities about the need for more adoptive parents for children and youth in foster care.

Tool/resource:

Developing Recruitment Plans: A Toolkit for States and Tribes (557 KB PDF)
This toolkit helps child welfare agencies develop data-driven recruitment plans, offering ideas for creating short-term plans, targeted recruitment plans focused on particular populations or areas, and comprehensive diligent recruitment plans. It provides ideas and strategies to consider, examples of ways to develop recruitment plans, tools you can use in your planning processes and adapt to meet your needs, key considerations, worksheets to help you analyze your data and use it for planning, and suggestions for other resources and information to help with developing recruitment plans. It also highlights ways to use other NRCDR publications and AdoptUSKids resources to support your recruitment-planning process.

Child-specific recruitment
Child-specific recruitment strategies help recruit foster, adoptive, and kinship families for specific children and youth in foster care. These strategies begin with a comprehensive child assessment and preparation process. Once you have a solid foundation on how to transition a child from temporary foster care to permanency, you can build on that knowledge to develop contacts who might be—or may know of—potential resources for the child. This can include relatives and other important people in the child‘s life, and may include exploring interjurisdictional placement options.

Idea from the field:

Use social media tools as part of family-finding efforts to identify and connect with kin, such as how New York City uses Facebook and other tools to search for relatives. Many tribes are using Facebook as a tool for recruiting and supporting families for native children and youth in a variety of ways.

Tool/resource:

Featuring Photolisted Children–Selecting Children and Preparing Your Agency’s Response (162 KB PDF)
This AdoptUSKids tip sheet provides ideas and strategies for selecting photolisted children and youth 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 and youth.

Interstate and interjurisdictional placements
Interjurisdictional placements involve placing a child for foster care or adoption with a family who lives in a different jurisdiction from the one responsible for the child. The term interjurisdictional is often applied to placements involving movement of a child across state, territory, or national boundaries.

Idea from the field:

States can develop border agreements with neighboring states or counties to establish clear procedures for allowing interjurisdictional practices and placements. Tribes and states can develop government-to-government agreements to set clear expectations and procedures for how they will work together. Read about the state-tribal agreement between the State of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation.

Tool/resource:

Agency Readiness Assessment for Interjurisdictional Placements (148 KB PDF)
This self-assessment form developed by the NRCDR helps agencies identify their existing capacity for supporting and making interjurisdictional placements, focusing on the areas of training, systems supports, evaluation, and recruitment.

News and announcements

November is National Adoption Month: We Never Outgrow the Need for Family–Just Ask Us

It’s National Adoption Month, and this year the National Adoption Month website is focused on equipping child welfare professionals to engage youth in conversations about adoption and permanency. Visit the website for resources to support you in preparing older youth and families for adoption, as well as tools to help you spread the word to increase awareness of National Adoption Month. The new Talking with Older Youth About Adoption (1.1 MB PDF) tip sheet, developed collaboratively by Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids, provides tangible tips and suggestions on ways to make these conversations about permanency with older youth effective and meaningful.

Update on National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE)

NEICE is a cloud-based electronic system for exchanging the data and documents needed for placing children across state lines as outlined by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). NEICE launched in 2013 and is nearly halfway through its national implementation phase. An early evaluation of NEICE found that participating states were able to decrease permanency timelines for children by nearly 40% and save states thousands of dollars in copying and mailing expenses. There are 11 states currently using NEICE (CA, DC, FL, IN, IL, NE, NV, RI, SC, VA, and WI) and 21 states have committed to coming on board. (See the NEICE implementation progress map for details.) In order for the project to be sustainable after May 31, 2018, when their grant from the Children’s Bureau ends, NEICE needs as many states on board as possible. If you work with a state that is not yet using NEICE, the project would appreciate any outreach to your state leadership to ask them to join NEICE as soon as possible.

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AdoptUSKids is operated by the Adoption Exchange Association and is made possible by grant number 90CQ0002 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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