E-Notes, the monthly newsletter from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.
This month, with National Adoption Month—November—fast approaching, we’re highlighting information and resources focused on the theme of recruiting families for older youth. We’re also sharing several ideas from the field that you can consider putting to use in your work.
National Adoption Month: “We never outgrow the need for family—just ask us”
This November, the National Adoption Month initiative will focus on the importance of finding families for older youth. As part of the ongoing collaboration between AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway, on behalf of the Children’s Bureau, we have developed several resources to help you continue to raise awareness about the need for adoptive families for older youth in foster care and to empower your efforts to recruit, develop, and support families for older youth. This year’s materials emphasize the importance of engaging older youth and talking with them about the idea of adoption, including addressing their questions and concerns and helping them explore what adoption can mean for them.
The National Adoption Month website provides information and resources for child welfare professionals, families, and youth on ways to promote and support adoption of older youth from foster care. Recognizing how busy people are and the importance of providing specific ideas that people can put to work right away, throughout the website are tip boxes on “What can I do now?”
Our webinar, “We never outgrow the need for family—just ask us: Talking with older youth about adoption,” held earlier this week, featured multiple important perspectives on older youth adoption, highlighting the voices of young adults who were adopted as older youth, a parent who adopted her son when he was 18, and an adoption professional with expertise in engaging older youth and helping achieve permanency for them. The archived webinar will be available later this fall.
This publication is the first in a series of collaborative policy briefs by the Chadwick Center for Children at Rady Children’s Hospital and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Decision makers at all levels are carefully examining under what circumstances congregate care should be a placement option, for how long, and for what youth. This brief provides empirical guidance and points to an array of evidence-based approaches, for these policy, placement, and programmatic decisions.
Ideas from the field
Hire and support foster care alumnae to work as recruiters
Operation Forever Family (a program of Bethany Christian Services) hires older youth and young adults who have been in foster care to work as “Been There, Done That” (BTDT) recruiters. The BTDT recruiters experienced foster care as older youth and either aged out of care or were adopted. This personal experience often allows them to form unique relationships with youth currently in care for whom they are recruiting. BTDT recruiters work 20–25 hours per week providing an additional child-specific recruitment service for select youth who are at risk of aging out of care. Part of their work involves going out in the community to engage in strategic recruitment activities based on the unique and specific needs and interests of individual youth. Visit the NRCDR website to learn more about Operation Forever Family, the benefits of utilizing BTDT recruiters, the process of hiring, training, and supporting BTDT recruiters, and lessons learned by the program.
Develop community-based recruitment teams specific to a geographic region to build pools of resource families who reflect the racial and ethnic characteristics of the children and youth in your agency’s care
Denver’s Village, a Diligent Recruitment Grantee project funded by the Children’s Bureau, conducted a community-based analysis, which served as the foundation for strategic planning to achieve improved permanency outcomes for Native American, African American, and Latino children in foster care. Denver’s Village contracted with a community partner to hire part-time community outreach workers to lead Community Based Resource Teams (CBRTs). Community outreach workers included members of the African American, Latino, and Native American communities, bilingual workers, foster care alumni, and foster and adoptive parents. They worked with families, community residents, faith-based and community organizations, and businesses to build partnerships, establish community and agency supports for families, and plan recruitment and retention activities and events. CBRTs were formed from this outreach and relationship-building work, engaging teachers, pastors and spiritual leaders, service providers, volunteers, and agency staff in the teams. Learn more about the approach used by Denver’s Village, which helped them to develop stronger community partnerships and a more positive image within diverse communities.
News and announcements
We have updated the “for tribes: ideas from the field” section of the NRCDR website to include several new examples of ways tribal child welfare agencies are using Facebook as a tool to recruit, engage, develop, and support resource families, and addressing some questions and concerns related to Facebook use.
Help your colleagues find out about diligent recruitment ideas and resources We encourage you to share E-Notes with any of your peers and colleagues who might find it helpful. If you received this email from someone else, you can to subscribe to receive E-Notes free each month. You can also access archived past issues of E-Notes.
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.