National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment

Strategies to Retain Foster
and Adoptive Parents


Developing strategies to retain foster, adoptive, and kinship families is the key to ensuring your agency’s recruitment efforts produce a sufficient pool of families for children in foster care.

Retention involves supporting both prospective and current foster, adoptive, and kinship families. To do this more successfully at your agency, use some or all of the strategies below:

Need retention training for your agency? We can help you implement these strategies and more. Find out about our free consulting services for public agencies.


Integrate Good Customer Service
Principles Into Your Work With Families


Principles of good customer service capture the essence of what helps to support and retain families. Retention, at its core, is fundamentally about treating people well, meeting their needs, and providing encouragement all the way from pre-service training through post placement services. Below are two great resources on how to integrate customer service into your work.

If you want tailored assistance on how to integrate customer service principles into your recruitment and retention work, we offer free consulting services for public agencies.


Use Process Mapping to Examine How
Your Agency Works With Families


Use process mapping to examine your agency’s process for prospective parents from responding to inquiries to conducting licensures and home studies. Exploring the process from both the agency's perspective and the prospective parent's point-of-view helps identify potential barriers or slow-down points that may hurt your efforts to recruit and retain parents.

We provide free tailored services on process mapping for public agencies. Find out more about our free consulting services for public agencies.


Develop Respite Care Partnerships
With Parent Support Groups


Develop respite care partnerships with parent support groups. These partnerships provide much-needed respite care options for foster, adoptive, and kinship families while ensuring the care provided is designed in ways that are responsive to the specific needs of parents and children.

Learn more about how to form these partnerships by reading our two publications:


Establish Procedures to Manage
Foster Care Placement Disruptions


Establishing procedures for handling placement disruptions in a foster home helps staff and families know what to expect. By having a clear procedure outlined, agencies can reduce the confusion and uncertainty foster parents may feel when a child needs to be moved unexpectedly. This ensures foster parents feel their thoughts and voices are heard as part of the process.

An example of placement disruption procedures are the Unplanned Transfer Conferences (PDF – 15 KB) the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth, and Families uses to facilitate conversations among its staff and foster parents about what happened in a particular situation and what could have been done better.

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Use our free resources to strengthen your efforts to recruit foster and adoptive families, facilitate interjurisdictional placements, and enhance your agency’s ability to provide good customer service.