Highlights & Lessons Learned
Key Findings and Lessons Learned by 2008 Diligent Recruitment Grantees (1.4 MB PDF)
These presentations feature key findings about successes and lessons learned by each of the grantees that received Diligent Recruitment grants from the Children’s Bureau in 2008. The 2008 grantees shared this information with other Diligent Recruitment grantees as they completed their five-year Diligent Recruitment grants.
Customer Service Workshop Facilitator's Manual (1.3 MB PDF) and The Simple Truths of Service Slideshow
The Mississippi Department of Human Services developed this workshop and its materials as part of its diligent recruitment grant from the Children’s Bureau. This workshop was developed to improve relationships both internally and externally. In the introduction, Mississippi Department of Human services states, “We work to create a culture centered on customer service that includes not only our external customers but our staff as well! This handbook contains our customer service standards, customer service principles, and staff resources. We hope this information, along with this customer service workshop, will provide each of you with a variety of valuable customer service tools.”
Extreme Recruitment Toolbox
The Extreme Recruitment program, one of the Children’s Bureau’s 2008 Diligent Recruitment grantees, developed a Toolbox of resources on its Extreme Recruitment approach to finding a permanent home for a child in a fraction of the time it would normally take. The toolbox includes a timeline to guide family identification activities, and many examples of forms, templates, and materials that the program uses to implement its approach.
Engaging Community Stakeholders: Strategies for Effective Recruitment of Foster and Adoptive Families
This free 90-minute webinar held on July 20, 2011, focused on the importance of partnering with community stakeholders to recruit foster and adoptive families for children and youth in foster care. It highlighted creative strategies several of the Children’s Bureau’s 2008 Diligent Recruitment Grantees are using to do this by:
- Sharing lessons learned on building effective relationships with community partners;
- Exploring how community partnerships have helped agencies strengthen their recruitment efforts;
- Offering specific suggestions to engage community partners.
Why Normalcy is Important for Youth in Foster Care
This article by Child Trends addresses the importance of youth in foster care experiencing a sense of normalcy while in out-of-home care and highlights work done by the Diligent Recruitment grantee Clark County, NV, toward assuring normalcy as required under the federal law, Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 (“The Strengthening Families Act”).
Support for Foster Parents Means Better Lives for Foster Youth
This article by Child Trends addresses the importance of providing support to resource families to improve retention and highlights Clark County’s Foster Parent Champion Program and New York’s Fostering Families Futures Program—both Diligent Recruitment grants—as examples of successful programs.
First-year evaluation tools from 2010 Diligent Recruitment grantees
The Mississippi GRITS grant project developed tools to support their initial work, including a child case record review form (240 KB PDF), an intake survey (322 KB PDF) for capturing information on child interest at the time of inquiry, and a tracking tool (125 KB PDF) to track prospective parents’ progress from inquiry to approval. They also developed a foster parent recruitment and retention survey (161 KB PDF) and a staff survey (94 KB PDF) to gather data on recruitment activities being conducted. To assess implementation of the project, they developed an interview tool (55 KB PDF) to measure individual experiences with the project.
The Michigan I-CARE 365 grant project developed a foster parent survey (336 KB PDF) to gather information about the experience of foster care providers in the previous 12 months.
The New Mexico Step Up! grant project developed evaluation tools to support the project, including the Foster Parent Pre-Service survey (39 KB PDF) and CYFD Pre-Service survey (45 KB PDF) that were used to gain information at the beginning of the project to determine current perceptions of customer service. The project also developed surveys of prospective parent applicants (86 KB PDF), former foster parents (89 KB PDF), and current foster parents (92 KB PDF) to gain data on applicants who inquired but did not follow through with the application process and to determine reasons foster families chose to close their home.
Permanent Family & Lasting Connections
Clark County’s (Nevada) Permanent Family and Lasting Connections grant project used a comprehensive foster parent survey (65 KB PDF) to gather information on the experiences and satisfaction of foster families around such as policies and processes, services to foster parents, training, teamwork, and more.
Recruitment and Kin Connection
As the Illinois Recruitment and Kin Connection grant project completed their first year of service delivery, they developed the Recruitment and Kin Connection Project survey (77 KB PDF) to gain information around experiences with the project. The project also developed the RKCP Kin Identification and Level of Engagement Worksheet (125 KB PDF) to gather information on engagement during family visitation.
Permanency and Family Resource Development Model
Texas’s Permanency and Family Resource Development Model grant project created two survey tools to gather information on families who withdrew from the verification process (122 KB PDF) to become a foster home and on families who completed the verification process (131 KB PDF).
View all 2010 Diligent Recruitment grantees.
Common themes: 2010 grantees
Diligent Recruitment grantees funded in 2010 shared key thoughts about their lessons learned in planning and implementation of their work. Summarized below are some of the common themes and suggestions the grantees thought were important to consider when planning and implementing diligent recruitment efforts.
- Be thoughtful about planning, making sure to define the scope and focus of the work toward the desired outcome to prevent multiple activities that exhaust or spread thin valuable resources.
- Integrate initiatives with other work going on in the agency to ensure that overall goals of the system are addressed to support sustainability.
- Recognize that initial assumptions and planning will evolve and allow plenty of time and flexibility in your approaches.
- Ensure that those involved in the work have a clear charge, are knowledgeable about the goals to be addressed, and know what is expected from them when it comes to roles, commitment of time and involvement, etc.
- Seek input from those who will be affected or involved in planning and implementation.
- Provide ongoing communication and regular updates around planning and progress to child welfare agency management/leadership as well as others involved or affected to broaden understanding and gain support in efforts.
Collaboration and partnerships
- Build upon existing partnerships and collaborations while also exploring new and untapped relationships that can support planning and implementation.
- Involve stakeholders with varying perspectives early in the planning process and have them serve in various roles to support planning and implementation.
- Recognized that building trusting relationships that lead to collaborative work takes time and requires ongoing nurturing of the relationships.
- Have a customer service approach that is responsive and supportive to those who are involved both internally and externally.
- Model transparency within the agency and especially when working with local and faith-based communities.
- Make sure that all other relevant sections of the system (e.g., contracts, training, retention, finance) are on board and aware of the work even if not directly involved.
- Have designated staff assigned to specific aspects based on knowledge and understanding of the work to prevent spreading staff too thin with multiple functions and responsibilities.
- Build a strong team with expertise in project management skills as well as child welfare expertise.
- Utilize staff that understand and are invested in recruitment work as they may bring natural skills to engage and support families through the process.
- Provide cross training between staff, resource families, and staff from related program areas to promote a shared understanding and to broaden relationships.
- Help staff be familiar with system processes and timelines to understand how those elements will affect implementation and system-change efforts.
- Share knowledge of intended goals and desired outcomes with others in the organization this will help to support forward movement and sustainability in the event that staff changes occur.
- Raise awareness and understanding of the value of data within the organization—from leadership to line staff—and utilize data to target and track efforts.
- Seek knowledge and support in analyzing and understanding data from others who are skilled in the use of data and evaluation.
- Develop reliable tracking methods to monitor and measure outcomes.
- Establish realistic expectations for the work through analysis of the data.
- Provide and seek regular communication and feedback about what the data reveals.