Data should be the foundation of your recruitment and retention strategies. Using data on the children and youth in need of placement and your available pool of foster, adoptive, and kinship families will help you know how many families you need to recruit and retain in order to provide placement stability and permanency to children and youth in foster care.
As you develop targeted and data-driven recruitment strategies, use the same data and information on the targeted communities to plan for your family retention, preparation, and support activities. For example, if you’re conducting targeted recruitment to recruit families for teens, be sure that you have information and resources to share with prospective families about how to meet the needs of teenagers in foster care. See our information packet Going Beyond Recruitment for Older Youth: Increasing Your System’s Capacity to Respond to Prospective Parents and Prepare Older Youth for Adoption (PDF – 648 KB) for specific ideas.
New Resources on Using Data Effectively for Recruitment
Webinar: Data-Driven Diligent Recruitment: Partnering and Prioritizing to Strengthen Your System’s Use of Data. This 2015 webinar helps child welfare systems explore ways to build your capacity to use data effectively to inform your recruitment, development, and support of foster, adoptive, and kinship families to meet the needs of children and youth in care. View the recording of this one-hour webinar as a Flash file or on our YouTube channel and download the PowerPoint presentation (PDF – 3.5 MB).
- Data-Driven Recruitment: Key Data Elements on Foster and Adoptive Families (PDF – 487 KB): Suggests priorities for key data elements on prospective and current families that will help inform your efforts to recruit and maintain a pool of families and help you assess the effectiveness of your recruitment efforts.
- Speaking the Same Language: Understanding Multiple Meanings of Terms Used by Child Welfare Program and IT/Data Staff to Support Diligent Recruitment (PDF – 147 KB): Highlights the importance of communicating effectively between program staff and IT/data staff and provides examples of key words and phrases that program and data/IT staff may use but that may have different meanings.
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.
You can use market segmentation to find families who are similar to your most successful foster, adoptive, and kinship placements. Using data on your agency’s most successful placements, you can build a strong, targeted recruitment strategy by answering the following questions:
- Who are the families you should be targeting?
- What are the best ways to reach these families?
- Where can you find these families?
Find out more by reading our overview of market segmentation (PDF – 340 KB).
Compare Your Data to National Data
Use data to inform decision-making by working with colleagues to examine the agency’s data on the number of foster parents who adopt and the overall percentage of the agency’s adoptions that they represent. See how the agency’s data compare to the national data, which show that 54 percent of adoptions from foster care are by the child’s foster parent. Then undergo the same process with the number of relatives who adopt; nationally they account for 32 percent of adoptions from foster care.
Tips, Tools, and Trends: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Market Segmentation (PDF – 354 KB)
Provides a brief overview of how child welfare systems can use Geographic Information Systems and market segmentation approaches to visualize data and to support targeted, data-informed outreach and recruitment efforts. This tip sheet was developed by the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology in collaboration with the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.
Trends in Foster Care and Adoption: FY 2002 – FY2012 (PDF – 385 KB)
This Children’s Bureau report discusses trends in foster care and adoption from FY2002 to FY2012, based on data submitted to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) by States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The data shows a substantial decline in the number of children in foster care on the last day of each federal fiscal year (FY) with a small exception in FY 2005. The report observes that this trend appears to be leveling off.
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