By Britton Slagle, Grant and Staff Writer
What is diligent recruitment, and who is the NRCDR?
Diligent recruitment is a comprehensive, multi-faceted systematic approach to recruiting, developing, supporting, and retaining a pool of resource families who can meet the needs of children and youth in foster care. The implementation of comprehensive diligent recruitment programs can improve placement stability and permanency outcomes for children.
The National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment (NRCDR) works to assist States, Tribes, and Territories in developing and implementing data-informed diligent recruitment programs in order to achieve improved outcomes. They provide free technical assistance, resources, and other support to help child welfare systems recruit, develop, and support foster, adoptive, and kinship families. NRCDR supports States, Tribes, and Territories with:
- Developing and implementing comprehensive, data-driven recruitment plans
- Improving retention of foster, adoptive, and kinship families
- Learning about effective recruitment, development, and support strategies
- Partnering with community stakeholders and private provider agencies to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts
What is the connection between NRCDR and The Adoption Exchange?
The NRCDR at AdoptUSKids is a program of The Adoption Exchange. AdoptUSKids is a national collaboration of five organizations that supports child welfare systems and helps youth in foster care be placed with families. Many elements of comprehensive diligent recruitment are integral to The Adoption Exchange’s efforts to improve placement stability and permanency, including:
- General, targeted, and child-specific recruitment, including relationship mining for youth, to meet placement needs of children in care
- Recruitment and development of homes, including relative homes, that can provide care for a foster child as a part of concurrent planning
- Recruitment and development of homes that can accommodate siblings in care so siblings can be placed together or reunited when they have been separated in care
- Recruitment of foster homes to ensure children and youth may be maintained in their schools when placed in foster care
- Procedures and processes to eliminate barriers to the interjurisdictional placement of children
- Utilization of adoption exchanges, including adoptuskids.org and/or regional or local exchanges
- Dual licensure of foster and adoptive homes
Building a system to address these elements of diligent recruitment helps to develop and sustain a pool of families who can meet the needs of children and youth in foster care. Having this pool of families will help provide placement stability and permanency to children and youth.
Key roles of foster, adoptive and kinship families in diligent recruitment
Resource families play key roles in diligent recruitment by helping to recruit, develop, and support other resource families by:
- Talking to people they know about becoming a foster parent
- Assisting with training
- Sharing their stories
- Mentoring new families
- Providing peer support
- Partnering with their child welfare system to improve how the process works
- Being a partner in permanency plans
Learn More about NRCDR and Diligent Recruitment
To learn more about NRCDR and diligent recruitment, please visit the NRCDR’s website.
May is National Foster Care Month and this year’s theme is Empowering Caregivers, Strengthening Families. For resources, to make connections, read inspiring stories, and learn how you might be able to help, please visit the National Foster Care Month 2017 website and Facebook page.