In a new paper by PCG’s Stacey Priest and Jennifer MacBlane, the authors explore how states are implementing targeted recruitment and retention strategies to cultivate and maintain a pool of qualified foster parents needed to support the growing number of children entering foster care across the country each year. Further compounding the need for qualified foster homes was the recent passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), which restructured how the federal government funds child welfare programs in support of children being placed in foster home settings. As a result of Family First, states now face limited Title IV-E funding for children placed in non-family-based settings such as congregate care.
To help states navigate the challenges of foster parent recruitment and retention, the authors detail certain aspects of recruitment and retention that states should assess to understand (and then address) the specific challenges they face when trying to recruit and retain qualified foster homes. For example, when it comes to recruiting foster parents, they encourage states to review existing practices for identifying potential foster parents as well as their processes for parents’ orientation, application, and training. The authors also provide detailed examples of effective, targeted strategies that several states have implemented to help child welfare agencies improve their efforts and increase recruitment and retention. A key takeaway of this guidance is that no single solution will work in every state or jurisdiction; therefore, it is imperative that states work to first understand their specific challenges to recruitment and retention (i.e., what is/isn’t working) and then develop practical and targeted strategies to recruit and retain foster parents.
The paper, “Foster Home Recruitment and Retention: One Size Does Not Fit All,” is available here.