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Webinar: First Impressions: the Power of an Effective Response System

View the webinar recording on our YouTube channel


This webinar addresses the importance of planning, developing, implementing, and continuously assessing your system for responding to resource family inquiries as an integral component of your state, tribe, or territory’s integrated diligent recruitment process. Presenters provide an overview of key concepts related to effective response systems and discuss ways in which your response system offers a critical opportunity to address systemic needs and challenges, set resource family expectations, and provide consistent, timely information.

This webinar:

  • Features a panel of presenters from different types of child welfare systems that will provide information about how their response systems are structured, discuss their strategies, and share the strengths and challenges of their approaches;
  • Helps participants explore considerations in selecting an approach or structure for handling responses to inquiries from prospective families;
  • Offers examples of concrete steps that child welfare systems can take to improve their response system and connect it to other aspects of their work to recruit, develop, and support families;
  • Discusses the technical assistance, resources, and other supports that the NRCDR can offer to assist with developing and implementing an effective response system; and,
  • Provides time for presenters to respond to participants' questions.


While this webinar is open to all audiences, it may be of particular interest to public (state, county, tribal) child welfare administrators, managers, supervisors, and staff working in the following areas: foster care and adoption programs; recruitment; intake; licensure; resource family training, development and support; and data and continuous quality improvement. The webinar may also be of interest to private agencies and nonprofit organizations that partner with child welfare systems.


Marie Youngpeter, NRCDR at AdoptUSKids
Marie Youngpeter, MS, brings more than 30 years of experience in the child welfare field to her consulting work with the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids. She previously served in various roles in state government, and last served as program manager overseeing Alabama's state foster care, adoption, recruitment and retention, and independent living programs. She has experience in the development and implementation of child welfare policy and practices supporting diligent recruitment and retention, family and youth engagement, stakeholder involvement, and team decision-making.

Hettie Charboneau, Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare
Hettie Charboneau manages the foster care program for Cherokee Nation. She has worked in the child welfare arena for over 22 years. Her experience has been in recruitment, certification, and retention of foster homes. She has served on tribal workgroups and tribal state workgroups to strengthen those partnerships in the field of Indian child welfare.

Renee Fitts, New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department
Renee Fitts has more than 12 years of experience working for the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department. In her current role as the foster care program manager, she is responsible for coordinating and implementing the statewide diligent recruitment plan, served as a liaison for the Step Up Diligent Recruitment Grant, serves as the state liaison for the AdoptUSKids PSA localization grant, and coordinates statewide recruitment efforts. Prior to her current role, she served as the Southeast regional recruiter and was responsible for coordinating and implementing targeted-recruitment efforts statewide.

Heidi Raubenolt, Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE)
Heidi Raubenolt, LMSW, is the program manager for the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE). MARE is a statewide information and referral service for families interested in adopting children from foster care, and for adoption workers looking for homes for these children. Additionally, MARE provides adoption navigator and match support services. Raubenolt has a broad range of experience in the child welfare field, including in foster care, adoption and family preservation.

Gilbert Soto, New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency
Gilbert Soto has worked within the Department of Children and Families for 15 years and currently works as a supervising program support specialist within the Office of Resource Families (ORF). Gilbert works closely with the administrator, developing methods that strategically guide the work within ORF, and oversees all recruitment and retention initiatives that take place statewide. In his role, Gilbert guides and supports recruitment staff statewide as they learn to effectively use data to develop unique approaches to reaching families within communities of need. Gilbert also has been working on developing a retention plan that will ultimately enhance DCF’s ability to retain resource families and improve outcomes for children in care and the families caring for them.