Main Page
This Issue
Next Article
Previous Article

2000 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 4, No. 3
June 1999

Assessing Your Agency's Foster Parent Recruitment Needs

Because children in different counties have different needs, your agency might want to consider conducting an assessment designed to focus your foster parent recruitment efforts in the most needed areas. The Child Welfare League of America recommends the following variables be included in an assessment:

  • the number of children who are projected to need family foster care

  • the child's age; gender; membership in a sibling group; culture and ethnicity; and special developmental, behavioral, or medical needs

  • the number of children in the above categories who are placed with foster families that have the strengths, skills, and supports to meet their needs, as well as the number of children who are not and will probably need another foster family

  • the number and needs of children in the above categories who are projected to transition from family foster care

  • the number and characteristics of children placed in other or more restrictive settings because appropriate foster families are not available

  • the number of foster families who are projected to leave the program

Once you determine your needs, involve the local community "in developing and implementing a comprehensive, culturally responsive, community-based, strategic recruitment plan" (Pasztor & Wynne).

The plan should include public awareness and education, positive themes and messages, specific strategies (such as notices in congregational and community newsletters, display ads in the phone book, and collaboration with your foster parent association), and targeted campaigns, depending on the needs of your agency's kids.

The final step is to develop a positive and well-organized system for responding to calls and contacts from people interested in becoming foster parents.


Pasztor, E. & Wynne, S. (1995). Foster parent retention and recruitment. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of America.

1999 Jordan Institute for Families