2008 Jordan Institute
13, No. 3
Efforts to Support North Carolina's Public Child Welfare Agencies
North Carolina is striving to ensure public agencies have the support and resources they need to find and retain high quality families for children in care. As part of this, the NC Division of Social Services has begun to partner with county DSS agencies and others on the following efforts:
1. Survey. As described in the overview in this issue, the Division recently surveyed county agencies about their strengths and needs related to foster parent recruitment and retention (R&R).
2. Clinics. To help agencies develop effective strategies, nine R&R clinics were held statewide in spring 2008.
3. R&R Guide. Using input from the clinics and nationally identified best practices, the Division and the Jordan Institute for Families will soon develop and disseminate a recruitment and retention guide for agencies and their communities.
4. Periodic Webinars. In State Fiscal Year 2008-09, the Division and the Jordan Institute for Families will conduct periodic online seminars. These 60-90 minute sessions will provide time for sharing successes and consulting with experts and peers from across the state. Each event will focus on a key R&R topic.
5. Tracking/Measurement. The Division will soon work with stakeholders to establish a method of tracking data related to foster parent R&R and making this information available online. County agencies will then be able to assess whether foster families reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the children in care, in accordance with federal law and our state’s Program Improvement Plan.
6. Technical Assistance to Individual County Agencies. The Division and its partners will provide ongoing support to county agencies as they implement effective R&R practices.
7. Pursuit of Funding Changes. The Division is working with the Governor and the General Assembly to increase the foster care board rate/adoption assistance rate and to standardize rates paid to private agencies that care for children in foster care.
8. Pursuit of Federal Funding. The Division has applied for a five-year federal grant from the Children’s Bureau, which would provide additional funding for foster parent recruitment and retention.
With these efforts and resources, North Carolina will provide technology, training, and infrastructure support for the important goal of finding and retaining families for all children in foster care.