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The promise and the paradox


Title: HIPAA Introductory Presentation Author: Lorrie L. Lutz Last modified by: L3P Assoicates, LLC Created Date: 4/30/2001 1:11:14 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The promise and the paradox

Recruitment of Resource Families
  • The promise and the paradox
  • Lorrie L. Lutz, MPP

National Resource Center for Foster Care and
Permanency Planning Casey National Center for
Resource Family Support
This work is dedicated to the memory of Joelle
Horel   Foster Care Specialist for the State of
Utah Division of Family and Children Services.
  Her dedication to the well-being of children
and her commitment to creating meaningful
partnerships with families was an inspiration to
those whos life she touched.   Joelle you are
deeply missed.  
  • According to the Childrens Bureau of the
    Department of Health and Human Services, 64 of
    children adopted from the child welfare system
    are adopted by their foster parents.1 If this
    trend persists and foster families continue to
    serve as the natural option for permanence for
    children in custody of the child welfare system,
    then the reality is that we may lose many of
    these families from the pool of available foster
  • 1 Promising Practices States Streamlining
    Foster and Adoptive Home Approval Process.
    (November 2000). Childrens Bureau Express.
    Volume 1, No. 7.

Certainly the resulting permanency for children
is worth the loss, but this pattern suggest the
need for states to develop rigorous, innovative
and effective strategies for the recruitment of
new resource families.
This Presentation Will Look At Five Innovative
  • Attend to the Details In Your Shop
  • Characteristic-Focused Recruitment and Training.
  • Data-based, Performance-based contracting with
    private agencies.
  • Community and neighborhood-specific recruitment.
  • Innovative partnerships between recruitment
    efforts and ongoing birth/resource family
  • Child-specific recruitment strategies and
    orientation efforts that seek to help resource
    families better understand the challenges they
    will face.

We would also like to explore the politics of
working with foster families.the behind the
scenes love-hate relationship that is played out
between social workers and foster families and
talk through the implications of this for Foster
Parent Retention, which as we know ultimately
impacts recruitment.
Attending to the Details
Attending To the Details
  • We strongly recommend beginning your efforts to
    enhance your recruitment process by flow-charting
    the details of the recruitment process.
  • This provides an opportunity you to identify
    those points in the process when the prospective
    family can get lost in the system.
  • Can it be streamlined?
  • For example, the initial phone callhow many of
    you have ever called your own system?
  • Are those that answer the phone friendly?
  • Are they informed?
  • How many times are families transferred?
  • Are materials sent in an expedient manner?
  • Are the materials compelling?

Flow Chart Your Processes
Attending To the Details (2)
  • Recommend creation of a conversion goal __ of
    families that call attend the initial training.
  • Create broad system ownership for the recruitment

Characteristics of Effective Resource
FamiliesRecruiting Smart
Characteristics of Effective Resource Families
  • From the research that has been completed over
    the past 5-10 years as part of understanding the
    evolving best practices of Concurrent Planning,
    Dual Licensure and more recently Recruitment and
    Retentionwe have learned something about what is
    required of successful foster/resource families.

These Characteristics Include
  • Resource Families See Themselves as a Support to
    the Birth Family.
  • Resource Families Support and Encourage Frequent
    and Consistent Visitation Between the Child and
    his/her Birth Family.
  • Resource Families are willing to live in the
    ambiguity of not knowing what might occur next.

This is Hard Work.
As stated by Mary Ford in her work on Concurrent
Planning, Resource families are asked to do
nearly an impossible tasklove the child like
their own, including being open to having a
permanent role in the childs life, while at the
same time serve as a support and mentor for the
birth parents to help them successfully reunify
with the child. Resource families safeguard the
positive aspects of the child-birth parent
relationship by stressing the birth parents worth
and qualities, while simultaneously accepting the
childs negative feelings toward his parents.
Resource families help the child to reconcile
having two sets of parents.1

1 Ford, Mary. (1998). Three Concurrent
Planning Programs How They Benefit Children and
Support Permanency Planning Families. North
American Council on Adoptable Children.
Logic suggests that during the recruitment
process we seek to better understand the
characteristics of those Individuals we are
asking to care for children in the child welfare
system. This goes well beyond training and
orientation to the facilitation of an in-depth
discussion where potential foster/resource
families are asked to look at their capacities
in a structured manner.
Link Between. CharacteristicsRetention and
The link between resource family characteristics
and recruitment and retention is based on the
idea that if foster/resource families have a
well-developed understanding of their own
capacities and they can relate those capacities
to the needs of the children and families in the
system, it will result in more satisfied, less
conflicted resource/foster families. This could
result in greater retention---one of the
mainstays of a strong recruitment program.
Mary Fords Work at NACAC
  • As part of NACACs work in Minnesota Mary Ford of
    NACAC is developing a training guide that will be
    published by the Department of Human Services.
    She strives in this guidebook to helping resource
    families understand their own philosophy and
    spiritual foundation and how this foundation or
    lack thereof will impact their role as a resource
  • Further, during the training Ford asks
    prospective resource families a series of
    sensitive and thoughtful questions that go to the
    heart of the role of a resource family.
  • These well-crafted self-assessment questions
    expose vulnerabilities and assets in ways that
    assist prospective resource families in coming to
    their own conclusions about their ability to be
    successful in this role.

Some of the Questions Include
  • Question 1 Would you like to share a little bit
    about their philosophical, spiritual or religious
    belief system and how it helps you? Follow up
    with the question Who might define themselves as
  • Question 2 What would you say to birth parents
    who said they were sorry for abusing or
    neglecting their child?
  •  Question 3 How do you imagine sharing your
    foster child with other important people in this
    or her life?
  • Question 4 Is it important to you to be certain
    about the outcome of your placement? Why or Why
  • Question 5 Please describe how youve recovered
    when you experienced losses in your life.

Jefferson County Colorado (through the work of
Linda Zschoche) also has defined the
characteristics of successful resource families
  • Resource parents can empathize for both the child
    and the birth family
  • Resource families demonstrate flexibility in
    their expectations about the outcomes of the
    placement as well as in their day-to-day life.
  • Resource parents tolerate ambiguity and
    uncertainty in the outcomes of a childs case.
    They recognize that much of the decision-making
    is not in their hands, but in the hands of the
    juvenile court officials and child protection
  • Resource parents possess a philosophical,
    spiritual and religious belief system that
    supports altruism and providing care for others.

Jefferson County (2)
  • Resource parents have acquired a basic
    satisfaction with where they are in life, with no
    significant, driving unmet needs.
  • Resource parents demonstrate a willingness to
    share relationships with a child.
  • Resource parents evidence resiliency when earlier
    losses were experienced.
  • Resource parents demonstrate resourcefulness when
    confronted with challenges.
  • Resource parents maintain positive connections
    with the community.

Performanced Based Contracting
  • A Partnership Model With the Private Provider

Elements of Performance Based ContractingMinnesot
a, Missouri and Utah
  • Statewide recruitment goals that are data driven.
  • Regional/community recruitmentwith very specific
    recruitment targetsagain these targets are data
  • Flexibility in the state/county-private provider
  • Tight Reporting Controls

Statewide, Data-Driven Recruitment Goals
Elements of Performance Based ContractingMinnesot
as Broad Statewide, Data-Driven Recruitment
  1. The state of Minnesota let a Request for
    Proposals for a statewide private agency to
    support their recruitment efforts.
  2. NACAC was awarded the contract.
  3. Calls for Regional Liaisons who work side by side
    with county staff.

Elements of Performance Based ContractingMinnesot
as Broad Statewide Recruitment Goals (2)
  • In the final contract broad agency goals are
  • Minnesota DHS expects successful outcomes at the
    end of the two-year contract to include
  • Increase in the number of skilled, trained,
    foster and adoptive homes.
  • In the fourth through eight quarter of the grant
    the number of adoptive parents with completed
    home studies and foster parents licensed in each
    region will increase by at least 25 percent.
  • During the fourth through eight quarters of the
    grant period the grantee will demonstrate that 75
    percent of the developed foster homes were
    licensed by the county social service agency.

Elements of Performance Based ContractingMinnesot
as Broad Statewide Recruitment Goals (3)
  • Decrease the likelihood of placement disruption
    for children.  
  • In federal fiscal year 1999, 57 percent of the
    children in placement experienced two or fewer
    placement settings. It is expected that this
    will increase to 75 percent for the sixth and
    seventh quarters of the grant period, which would
    indicate a decrease in placement disruptions.
  • Increase the expectation that siblings remain
    together in both foster care and adoptive
  • Statewide 103 sibling separations were requested
    for adoption in the calendar year 1999. It is
    expected that sibling separations in adoption
    would decrease by 25.

Elements of Performance Based ContractingMinnesot
as Broad Statewide Recruitment Goals (4)
  • Increase the likelihood that children who cannot
    return home achieve permanency with a relative or
    foster parent.  
  • In federal fiscal year 1999, 634 Minnesota
    children were adopted. Of the 634 children,
    relatives adopted 180 children and former foster
    families adopted 175 children. The ratio of
    adoptions by foster families and relatives is
    expected to increase by 25 percent by the end of
    the seventh quarter of the grant period.

Community/Neighborhood Recruitment
Data Driven-Community Based Recruitment
  • Contracts Specify the numbers and types of homes
    required. (adolescents, sibling groups). Shelia
    Kitchen, of Childrens Place, a not-for-profit
    agency awarded one of the contracts for the
    Kansas City Missouri area was enthusiastic about
    the contracting model. She was clear that the
    greater the specificity in the regional plans,
    the more effective we are in recruitment of the
    kinds of families needed.
  • The reality is that the more accurate and
    detailed information that the private providers
    have about the needs of the county regarding
    specific needs for homes, the better they are at
    recruiting accordingly.

Data Driven-Community Based Recruitment-Missouri
  • RFP was let and multiple contracts awarded.
  • Payments for very specific activities.
  • Recruitment of a family who goes through the
    entire process from the point of the in-home
    consultation, training and licensure.
  • In-home consultations
  • Provision of the initial pre-service training
  • Completed assessments where the foster/adoptive
    family applicant is found to be skilled in all
    competencies listed in STARS and is recommended
    for licensure as foster parents or approval as
    adoptive parents.
  • Completed Adoption Assessments.
  • In-service training provided to foster/adoptive
  • Reassessment of foster/adoptive families.

Data Driven-Community Based Recruitment-Missouri
  • Unique aspect of the second contract
  • If a family is recruited that does not meet the
    needs specified in the contractthe county does
    not have to pay the rate.
  • Or if the county chooses to do the work
    in-house such as reassessments, it does not
    have to purchase this work from the
    providerenabling the local entity to make
    maximum use of its resources.

Utah takes it from the Region to the Neighborhood.
Neighborhood Recruitment
  • Contract awarded to a hybrid not-for-profit
    community organization named in Utah code the
    Utah Foster Care Foundation
  • The turning point in our recruitment efforts was
    when the Board of Directors agreed that we should
    not conduct any major recruitment efforts until
    we fully understood the needs of the various
    regions of the state. We sought to understand
    the regional needs for homes for older children,
    sibling groups and children of diverse cultures.
    Then we had a clear message for the community
    recruitment efforts

Neighborhood Recruitment -Utah
  • Neighborhood Specific Needs are identified
  • Salt Lake Valley Metro Neighborhood
  • There are placements for 28 of the children in
  • 24 foster/adoptive homes, 43 placement capacity,
    9 empty homes and 21 openings.
  • 152 children in care, 6 placements for any age

Utah Neighborhood Recruitment (cont)
Utah Neighborhood Recruitment (cont.)
  • These regional/neighborhood plans serve as the
    basis for the swat team approach used by
    Foundation staff.
  • Once they compile the neighborhood data, using
    zip codes which assist in data analysis, they
    decide on a neighborhood to target and focus two
    months of recruitment within that targeted
  • They contact newspapers where press releases and
    articles are published.
  • They contact foster parents who assist in
    hosting open houses where community members come
    to learn more about foster parenting.
  • One extremely effective recruitment strategy has
    been the partnerships that have been created with
    schools within the communities. The schools
    agree to distribute flyers announcing Open Houses
    and other community recruitment efforts.
  • According to Kelsi Lewis, Director of the
    Foundation It is remarkable the number of
    families who attend the community gatherings with
    these flyers in hand. We are very grateful to the
    schools for their support of our recruitment

Tight Reporting Requirements
Elements of Performance Based ContractingMissouri
s Reporting Requirements
  • Tight Reporting RequirementsOn a monthly basis
    the private providers in Missouri must report on
    the following
  • Number of inquiries from potential
    foster/adoptive families
  • Number of in-home consultations
  • Number and names of foster/adoptive family
    applicants who withdrew or were selected out of
    the foster/adoptive application process.
  • Number and names of foster/adoptive family
    applicants beginning pre-service training.
  • General description of the recruitment activities
    provided by the contractor during the month.

Unique Partnerships With Foster Families
Partnerships Reaching out to the Prospective
Foster Fathers--Maine
  • According to Stephan Duplessis of Maine .The
    foster father is often forgotten in the process
    of fosteringit is the foster mom who is the
    focus of recruitment messages and support
    efforts. My goal is to reach out to the
    potential foster father and help them understand
    the nature and importance of their role.
  • As a member of the Advisory Committee for FACT
    (Families and Children Together), a
    community-based organization that has a contract
    with the state for the recruitment of foster
    families in Maine, Steffan takes it upon himself
    to contact all prospective foster fathers. In
    these conversations, he seeks to understand if
    the foster father is able to identify what they
    hope to both give and get out of the fostering
    experience. Steffan suggests, if the individual
    cannot talk about his desire for some kind of
    connection with the child, I worry that he is not
    fully understanding his role. The male role
    model is critical to these children, and often to
    their families. I try to help the prospective
    foster father find his place in the fostering

Child Specific Recruitment
Child Specific Recruitment --Alaska
  • Deborah Hayes--Director of Alaska Foster Parent
    Training Center Hayes suggests that the challenge
    one faces in Alaska is to slowly thread the
    concept of foster care into the Native American
    culture on a child-by-child basis.
  • In Alaska, some of the tribes are completely
    closed, independent communities, it is only
    through relationship and connection to the
    village and villagers that can recruit resource
    families. They look to individuals who are
    already in and connected to the village residents
    such as the Public Health nurses to identify
    people who may be likely candidates to serve as
    resource families for a specific child.
    According to Hayes, the culture within many
    Alaskan tribes requires that fellow villages not
    become involved until asked directlyand then
    only about a specific, known child .

Child Specific Recruitment --Maine
  • A critical aspect of Maines evolving recruitment
    effort is to provide dollars focused on
    child-specific recruitment.
  • When children are coming out of the state system
    as legal risk adoption, the state makes it a
    point to recruit and certify homes specifically
    for that child.
  • In hard to places cases, private agencies are
    provided information about the kind of home
    needed for the specific child and the private
    agency focuses on recruitment.

The Politics of the Social Worker Foster Parent
  • Getting to the Heart of the Matter.

An Issue That Impacts Retention (Which Impacts
Recruitment)the Quality of the Social
Worker-Foster Care Relationship
  • Understanding the Power
  • Work through the Questioning of Motives
  • Seek to Be Inclusive seeing the foster families
    as Partners
  • Better Management of Abuse/Neglect Allegations

Understanding the Power
  • The common reason for foster parents leaving the
    system, cited in survey after survey, is lack of
  • States must create opportunities for ongoing
    staff to learn about the importance of their
    interactions with foster familiesthat their
    relationship and treatment of foster families is
    fundamental to an effective recruitment and
    retention plan.

This is a Values Discussion
  • Needs to occur with all staff
  • Needs to occur at the point of hiring at a
  • Staff need to be very clear about the
    expectations in regard to their interaction and
    role with foster families.
  • Expectations include
  • Respect
  • Inclusion
  • Partnership

  • Recommendations include
  • Consider revising interview process to
    incorporate questions about this relationship.
  • Incorporate this issue into performance
  • Keep it as a high priority during supervisory
  • TrainTrainTrain.

Work Through the Questioning of Motives
A foster father who elected not to share his name
told a personal story .We have been foster
parents for a long time and I think that most of
the county staff know our commitment to
permanency and reunification. However, a
14-year-old boy that has been living with us for
some time came to us one evening and said that he
no longer wanted to pursue adoption. He told us
that he had formed a deep bond with us, was
really active in his school, and just wanted to
live with us until he graduated. We told him to
make sure and think it through. If he was sure
then we would fully support that decision. When
this young boy told the social worker of his
feelings the first words out of the social
workers mouth were, Have your foster parents
pressured you into making this decision? My
wife and I were shocked and so was the young boy.
We were suspect immediately. We confronted the
social worker and even talked to her supervisor
to little or no availthe system just doesnt
trust our motives
Management of Abuse Neglect Allegations
  • Recently during a consultation with a state,
    based on a request to the NRCFCPP, we were
    specifically addressing the relationship between
    state social workers and foster families.
  • I posed the following questions
  • Tell me your view of foster/adoptive parents and
    your sense of their motivations?
  • Describe for me an excellent foster/adoptive
    parent. What are their skills and their
    philosophical underpinnings?
  • Tell me why you think that it is generally hard
    to recruit foster/adoptive parents?
  • Share with me why you think that foster/adoptive
    parents leave the system and no longer provide
  • When you have been successful in recruiting
    foster parents why do you think you were
    successful? What were the messages? What was
    going on in the state?
  • If you could define one thing in the system that
    is a significant barrier to recruitment and
    retention of foster families what would that be?
  • Describe the quality of your orientation and
    ongoing training?
  • Describe what foster parents would say about the
    support that they receive from the system. From
    one another?
  • Describe the State Foster Parent Association, and
    any information that comes from this Association
    to its members. How is this Association funded?

Management of Abuse Neglect Allegations (2)
  • During these conversations the issue of the
    handing of abuse/neglect investigations arose.
  • It was perceived as one of the major issues
    impacting retention in the state.
  • The risk of these assessments and the perceived
    perception of guiltwas a tremendous deterrent to
    other families in the community.
  • This is an area to which states need to pay close
    attention. Recommendations to this state
  • --Standardizing the child abuse and neglect
    investigation process across the state for
    foster families.
  • --Follow up piece needs to be refined and
  • --Train designated staff.
  • --Educate and inform foster families regarding
    in the process prior to licensure.
  • --Re-educate them during the process.

Good Luck!
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