About diligent recruitment

Diligent recruitment is a strategic, data-driven approach to identifying and retaining families who reflect the race and ethnicity of children in foster care and can meet their needs. Diligent recruitment helps child welfare systems improve permanency, placement stability, and well-being for children in foster care.

More than working hard to recruit families, diligent recruitment requires a comprehensive approach to recruiting, engaging, developing, and supporting families, whether they are foster, adoptive, or kinship families. Diligent recruitment also requires a focus on equity and youth engagement practices.

Recruiting families

Diligent recruitment doesn’t mean recruiting just any family. It involves recruiting specific populations of families based on the needs and demographics of children in care.

Whether you’re recruiting broadly for families who can support permanency or you’re on a mission to find a specific family for a young person, your recruitment should be data-driven and involve youth. Not sure where to start? Check out our resources and tools for using your data and youth engagement.

Engaging families

Getting families to walk through the door is an important step, but it is just the first of many. Keeping families engaged is key to retaining them in the pool of potential families for children in foster care now or in the future.

Developing families

All families exploring foster care and adoption have a desire to love a child, but not all families understand that parenting children from foster care requires them to develop special understanding and skills.

It is crucial to make sure that families understand trauma, have deeply assessed their strengths and areas for growth, and can approach foster care and adoption with a fully informed and unwavering commitment to the best interests of the child. Very few prospective parents come equipped initially with this depth of understanding; that’s why developing families is critical.

Development of families involves initial and ongoing training, but it should also involve other opportunities for learning and developing new insights, parenting approaches, and self-awareness. Families benefit from being able to learn from many experiences, both in structured training and in less formal contexts–for example, from mentors and buddy families, through discussions in parent groups, and from hearing voices of youth and families with lived experience.

Supporting families

Just like children, families are unique. Serving as a foster, adoptive, or kinship family is a big decision, and the journey can be hard. Families have varying needs, from education to crisis management. Ensuring the families in your system feel well supported the moment they walk in the door and every time they need help is critical to their success.

There can be many barriers to families reaching out for support, including fear, shame, or even lack of knowledge that support is available. How is your agency proactively ensuring barriers to families receiving support are identified and removed, so that the families serving our children are equipped and stable?

Ready to start your diligent recruitment plan?

AdoptUSKids and the National Center for Diligent Recruitment are operated by the National Adoption Association and made possible by grant number 90CO1143 from the US Children's Bureau. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the National Adoption Association and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Children's Bureau, ACYF, ACF, or HHS.

Contact Us

Wherever you are in your diligent recruitment planning and implementation process, our National Center for Diligent Recruitment staff are here to help you.




In English: (888) 200-4005
En español: (877) 236-7831