Policies on Implementing Data-Driven Recruitment & Retention Practices

Implementing Data-Driven Recruitment & Retention Practices graphic

Data-driven foster parent recruitment and retention

Missouri used the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to compile data on the number of foster and adoptive homes by region, availability and race. Staff of the Children’s Division Quality Assurance unit are able to provide localities with data for specific zip codes and school districts and are gathering data on reasons foster parents quit other than adoption in order to improve training and retention. The plan also reports that the Children’s Division is working on a methodology to determine the number of homes and preparation level needed to assure adequate placement capacity.

See Missouri's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

New Jersey's Siblings in Best Settings (SIBS)

New Jersey established the goal that 80 percent of sibling groups will be placed together. Its foster parent diligent recruitment plan features an initiative called Siblings in Best Settings (SIBS), aimed at increasing capacity for sibling groups through enhanced board rates and retainer fees for vacant beds. The state is also working to increase placement of adolescents in kin care by 30 percent and to increase non-kin capacity for adolescents by 15 percent.

See New Jersey's diligent recruitment plan for more information.

Safe reduction of children in congregate care

New Jersey achieved a 45 percent reduction in the use of congregate care from 2009 to 2016. The significant decrease has not been the result of a single program or policy. Rather, the approach has been multifaceted and iterative and include strategies such as: 

    • Case practice model
    • Prioritizing relatives, family friends, and communities
    • Matching and preparation of children and families
    • Resource family recruitment
    • Resource family support and retention
See strategy brief by Casey Familly Programs for more information.

Foster Family Retention Plan

By 2018, New Jersey's Department of Children and Families had been so successful in its recruitment efforts that the number of licensed foster homes is more than double the number of children requiring placement in out-of-home care (approximately 14,000 beds are available in licensed foster homes versus 6,600 children in care). In addition to recruitment efforts, New Jersey adopted a new family model of care that included an extensive menu of support for foster, adoption, and kinship caregivers that has helped reduce the overall foster care population as well as dramatically reduce the number of children placed in congregate care.  This paradigm of resource home support, articulated in the New Jersey Resource Family Retention Plan, is very intensive, with multiple staff working to secure as many community resources as possible to help keep children in these family-based settings. DCF also provides peer supports to resource parents through an active mentoring program and a peer support helpline staffed by veteran resource families and run by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care Call Center.

To learn more, see New Jersey's Resource Family Retention Plan

Data-driven foster parent recruitment

New Mexico used the Diligent Recruitment Navigator and data reports to develop its plan. Each county prepares a diligent recruitment plan based on a Targeted Recruitment Planning Tool that asks for information about current placement resources, the children most in need of homes, recruitment targets and strategies, outreach activities, and supports for foster families. The tool also calls for an action plan and includes an evaluation component. The department’s IT unit developed a web-based dashboard that tracks pending foster parent applications and active licensed providers in terms of capacity, number of placements, and child characteristics. The agency’s goal is to license foster parents within 120 days and to increase the number of foster homes by 15 percent statewide. New Mexico has a goal to have at least two placement options for each child removed from home.

See New Mexico's diligent recruitment plan for more information.