Many people think of diligent recruitment as only consisting of the requirement in the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA). Complying with MEPA’s diligent recruitment requirement is important, but comprehensive, multi-faceted diligent recruitment involves a more systematic approach to recruiting, retaining, developing, and supporting a pool of families who can meet the needs of children and youth in foster care. Implementing comprehensive diligent recruitment can help you achieve improved placement stability and permanency for children.
See our tip sheet What is Diligent Recruitment? (PDF – 164 KB)
What Does Diligent Recruitment Involve?
Diligent recruitment involves multiple elements. Our materials and technical assistance can help you address all of these elements. According to the Children’s Bureau, comprehensive, multi-faceted diligent recruitment programs should include:
- Procedures for consistently updating the characteristics of children in care utilizing information and analysis of AFCARS data and other data available to the State, region, or county;
- Procedures for ongoing analysis of the current pool of available foster and adoptive placement resources;
- Collaboration and public-private partnerships with groups representative of the communities from which children come, to help identify and support potential foster and adoptive families;
- General, targeted, and child-specific recruitment, including relationship mining for youth, to meet placement needs of children in care;
- Recruitment and development of homes, including relative homes, that can provide placement as a part of concurrent planning for the child;
- Recruitment and development of homes that can accommodate siblings in care so siblings can be placed together or reunited when they have been separated in care;
- Recruitment of foster homes to ensure children and youth may be maintained in their schools when placed in foster care;
- Procedures to ensure that all prospective parents, including relatives and people who have important existing relationships with youth in care, have access to the home study process, including foster and adoptive parent training at a local or community level and that the home studies are initiated and completed in a timely manner;
- Utilization of a “customer service” model in responding to prospective foster and adoptive parents, and to reduce the dropout rates;
- Procedures or processes to address barriers presented by the agency in order to increase the rate of retention of prospective foster and adoptive parents and to reduce the dropout rates;
- Procedures for training staff to engage effectively with diverse cultural, racial, and economic communities who are reflective of the children and youth in foster care;
- Procedures for providing training to prospective foster and adoptive parents regarding the characteristics, needs, and issues of children who have experienced trauma, as well as adoption clinical issues;
- Procedures to deal with linguistic barriers;
- Procedures to ensure a non-discriminatory fee structure, including the use of purchase of service arrangements with public and private agencies (including community-based and other organizations) when necessary to facilitate and support placement;
- Dual licensure of foster and adoptive homes;
- Utilization of adoption exchanges, including AdoptUSKids and/or regional or local exchanges;
- Procedures and processes to eliminate barriers to the interjurisdictional placement of children; and
- Training strategies for staff and community partners.