Policies on Engaging Foster Parents & Youth as Partners

Engaging Foster Parents & Youth as Partners    graphic

Clark County Information Sharing policy

In 2016, the Clark County Quality Parenting Initiative Child Welfare Workgroup collaborated with the District Attorney’s Office to address the issue of inconsistent information sharing. The workgroup created a brochure that summarizes law and policy governing information sharing in federal law, Nevada Revised Statutes, Nevada Administrative Code and Clark County Department of Family Services policy. The brochure highlights the benefits of sharing information, which includes building meaningful partnerships between caseworkers, birth families and foster caregivers. It outlines the types of information that must be shared with care providers, such as children’s health and education information, case plans, permanency plans and visitation plans, as well as information that cannot be shared, such as mandated reporter information, court reports, birth parents’ financial records, and HIPAA protected health information, e.g., parents’ drug test and psychological evaluation results. The QPI lead in Clark County reports that the brochure has been helpful in dispelling confusion on the part of caseworkers and supervisors about what information must be shared with foster parents.

See playbook for more information.

North Carolina Diligent Recruitment and Retention Plan

North Carolina’s DSS developed the its most recent Diligent Recruitment and Retention (DRR) plan collaboratively with input provided at three regional stakeholder meetings attended by representatives of the provider community, the courts, foster parents, youth, county child welfare leaders, licensing staff, caseworkers, advocates and others. One of the goals of the new DRR plan is that “the state, counties and child placing agencies have the capacity to use data to inform and monitor recruitment and retention efforts.” The plan requires each county department of social services to submit its own individualized plan annually. The state also requires each county to create, maintain, update monthly and submit to the state annually a data profile that includes the following: characteristics of children in care, characteristics of families available for placement, average length of time from initial inquiry to licensure, total number of licensed beds, total number of available beds, number of children placed out of county due to lack of available beds, and number of placement disruptions or changes. Although private agencies are not required to submit data profiles, larger agencies have that capacity and the state encourages them to do so.

See here for more details.

Child Welfare Summit on Diligent Recruitment and Retention

In May 2019, North Carolina held the first annual Child Welfare Summit on Diligent Recruitment and Retention. The summit was an opportunity for county child welfare agencies and private child placing agency staff to come together to discuss ten key drivers for improving recruitment and retention outcomes. The key drivers include: data driven; leadership within and across agencies; child-centered; collaboration with families; collaboration with community partners; sustainability; quality customer service; kinship, guardianship, and post-adoption services; MEPA; and, develop and support families.

See state diligent recruitment plans for more information.

Ohio's Foster Care Advisory Group

Created by statute in 2017, the Ohio Foster Care Advisory Group developed recommendations regarding training, simplification of certification requirements, coaching parents on substance-exposed newborns, childcare, respite, trauma-competent counseling, retention, foster parent rights and a public awareness campaign. 

See Ohio's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Tennessee Child and Family Team Meeting Protocol

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) works to ensure that foster parents can attend Child and Family Team Meetings (CFTMs). First, foster parents are able participate in the CFTMs in person or by phone, which helps working parents or parents with other children to stay involved. DCS also has a detailed CFTM protocol that clarifies roles, decisions to be made, and explicitly gives any member of the team, including foster parents, the right to call a CFTM. Foster parents, in particular, can call a CFTM when they feel like they need additional help and/or don’t have all the information they need in order to care for the child placed in their home. If at any time foster parents feel as though they need support in a CFTM, they can request a foster parent advocate to attend the meeting with them.

See the playbook for more information.

Vermont's Core Team

Vermont created a vision for recruitment and retention that includes a theory of change, organizational culture change, infrastructure elements, major action priorities and a detailed action plan. The Core Team identified five key diligent recruitment and retention infrastructure elements: 1) responsive model of engagement and support; 2) community engagement; 3) unified policy and procedures; 4) training and development; and 5) a unified data model. The agency is also working on organizational culture change to ensure that all staff have a role to play in recruitment and retention. Vermont’s Diligent Recruitment plan also calls for coordination with other state agencies, including the Departments of Mental Health, Aging and Independent Living and the Agency of Education.

See Vermont's diligent recruitment plan for more information