Policies on Providing Timely Staff & Peer Support to Foster Parents

Providing Timely Staff & Peer Support to Foster Parents graphic

Community Based Rehabilitation Services

Idaho provides Community Based Rehabilitation Services workers to help support children with significant developmental or behavioral needs in their home, school, or other community-based setting.This behavioral health services can make a difference in foster parents’ willingness or ability to accept placement of a child, particularly children with higher needs, and support placement stability from the start. 

To learn more, see the brief, "How can we ensure a child’s first placement is with family?"

Illinois Shared Parenting Policy

Within the shared parenting framework, Permanency Workers, parents and caregivers work as a team. As with any effective team, players have different roles, responsibilities and tasks, but each team member has the same goal - in this case, to preserve or rebuild the family around the long-term welfare of the child. This requires that the team members form a partnership or positive alliance always seeking to keep parents focused on the welfare of the child.

See the policy for more details.

Illinois' Children’s Home and Aid Foster Parent Mentors

Children’s Home and Aid is one of the largest statewide private providers of child welfare services in Illinois. The foster parent mentoring program was begun in March 2017, after a series of focus groups across the state revealed that foster parents were supporting one another informally but sometimes exchanging inaccurate information about state policy and procedure. The mentoring program was started to formalize such support and ensure that foster parents were receiving up-to-date information.

See the playbook for more information.

Office of Parent and Caregiver Support

Illinois DCFS Office of Parent and Caregiver Support employs 40 Foster Parent Support Specialists statewide to serve DCFS and private agency foster homes. The goals of the program are to retain foster parents, promote family reunification, stabilize foster placements and facilitate youth development.

See Illinois' diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Iowa One Caseworker Model

Iowa’s Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts for foster parent recruitment and retention in each of the state’s five regions. In the most recent contracts, DHA stipulates that the contractors must use the One Caseworker Model, which requires that the same staff person is assigned to work with each resource family through the recruitment and retention process -- from training to licensing and approval, through matching, and on to support and closure. The caseworkers become very familiar with their resource families, which allows them to recommend better placement matches, introduce enhanced child management techniques, tailor the training that the foster parent receives, and provide background knowledge to help the family meet the child's needs. Caseworkers are also charged with knowing the resource families’ ability to work with a child’s birth parents, extended family, and how the family supports a child’s connections to birth family, siblings, culture, and community.

See the playbook and Iowa's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Foster Parent & Kinship Support Programs

In Kentucky, the Foster Parent Mentor Program is a partnership with the University Training Consortium and Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) that matches newly approved foster parents with experienced caregivers for their first six months of service. The Foster and Adoptive Parent Training Support Network run by Murray State University has 15 teams of experienced foster parents who provide peer support and training. The state agency also partners with the University of Kentucky to operate the Kinship Information, Navigation and Support (KY-KINS) program.

See Kentucky's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Agency Partners with Foster Youth and Foster Parents

Kentucky engages members of Voices of the Commonwealth, a foster youth advisory group coordinated by Murray State University, to share their experiences to raise awareness and aid recruitment and training. Fostering Futures, an initiative of the Kentucky Foster and Adoptive Care Association sponsored by the state agency, serves as a united voice to advocate for children in care and the families that serve them. Western Kentucky University (WKU) and the University of Kentucky have both conducted surveys of foster parents. The WKU survey found that foster parents were generally more satisfied with private agencies than with the public agency. The UK survey queried foster parents about their experiences caring for children exposed to trauma.

See Kentucky's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Foster Parent Recruitment Social Workers

Beginning in 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families began the process of hiring a cadre of full-time foster care recruitment social workers. The agency’s plan establishes the goal of having 29 workers by FY 2020, one worker for each area office. These staff work with Family Resource Units within each area office to enhance recruitment efforts, develop area recruitment and retention plans and assist applicants with the licensing process. DCF also has a full-time statewide Foster Care and Adoption Recruitment Unit that plans and implements the comprehensive recruitment plan.

See Massachusetts' diligent recruitment plan for more information.