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Diligent Recruitment

Ideas from the Field


Comprehensive diligent recruitment can help your child welfare staff recruit, develop, and sustain a diverse, sufficient pool of foster, adoptive, and kinship families to meet the needs of children and youth in foster care. Diligent recruitment is multi-faceted and involves systemic approaches to recruiting and supporting families. The ideas and lessons learned below provide some examples of how child welfare systems are implementing diligent recruitment approaches.

Diligent Recruitment Grantees' Findings

Key Findings and Lessons Learned by 2008 Diligent Recruitment Grantees (PDF – 1.4 MB)
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.

Market Segmentation and Engaging the Business Community

Kentucky’s Project MATCH (Making Appropriate and Timely Connections for Children), one of the recipients of a 2008 Diligent Recruitment grant from the Children’s Bureau, used market segmentation to drive recruitment efforts and messages aimed at populations that are most likely to be strong possibilities to become foster and adoptive parents for the children and youth in need of placement. The project hired and trained experienced resource parents to work as diligent recruitment specialists. These specialists engaged in targeted recruitment efforts using market segmentation data and research on best practices.

Using the project’s market segmentation data — which highlighted a market segment known as Town With Children who are likely to be a good pool of potential foster and adoptive parents — staff identified a restaurant (a Ponderosa Steakhouse) where adults from that market segment are likely to eat. Project MATCH staff partnered with the Ponderosa restaurant to allow their employees to wear shirts promoting Project MATCH, feature a recruitment message and phone number on the sign outside the restaurant, distribute brochures about foster care at the restaurant, and generously offer a 10 percent discount to foster parents and foster care workers who dined at the restaurant during a specific week.

Learn more about Project MATCH and see examples of some of the products and materials from the project.

Find out more by reading our Overview of Market Segmentation (PDF – 144 KB), and learn how to apply it to your agency by requesting our free technical assistance on market segmentation.

Data-Driven Recruitment in Practice

Denver’s Village, a 2008 Diligent Recruitment grant project of the City and County of Denver, used a data-driven, community-centered approach to improving permanency outcomes for youth. The project used Community Based Recruitment Teams (CBRTs) in geographically assigned communities, in collaboration with the Family to Family program and the Denver Indian Family Resource Center. Each CBRT used demographic data specific to the geographic area in which they are recruiting, ensuring that the recruitment strategies in each area are informed by detailed information about the populations in the targeted area. This use of community-specific data enables targeted recruitment and outreach, which helps maximize the effectiveness of recruitment efforts. See more information about the Denver’s Village project.

Customer Service Workshop Facilitator's Manual (PDF – 1.3 MB), 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.”

See profiles of the Diligent Recruitment grantees, funded by the Children’s Bureau.

Create a Specialized Position to Recruit, Engage, Develop, and Support Families

As part of its diligent recruitment grant, Santa Cruz County (CA) established a specialized contractor position to recruit and support prospective parents. An outreach and recruitment coordinator — who is also an adoptive parent — reaches out to prospective families who inquire about foster care or adoption. This coordinator offers prospective parents support and helps guide them through the licensing process. She helps them access, complete, and submit applications and other required paperwork and provides support through each stage of the licensure or approval process. 

Santa Cruz county developed this support role because they saw that prospective parents became frustrated or overwhelmed by the application and licensure process. The coordinator provides prospective families with a consistent person to support them throughout the process, helping them navigate each step. Families can be in touch with the coordinator from the point of their initial recruitment through orientation and training, getting support and assistance to help them through each stage.

Because this coordinator role is a contracted position, and not an employee of the child welfare agency, the coordinator has an increased ability to connect with families as she carries no leverage over their case and cannot speak to the history of children’s cases. Being someone separate from the child welfare agency allows her to be more creative in her efforts and support.

See profiles of the Diligent Recruitment grantees, funded by the Children’s Bureau.

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