Vol. 13, No. 2 • May 2009

A Guide for Agencies on Partnering with Resource Families

In January 2009 the NC Division of Social Services, with assistance from the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work, published Treat Them Like Gold: A Best Practice Guide to Partnering With Resource Families. This detailed guidebook includes a full range of practical strategies for recruiting and retaining resource families. It also addresses broader considerations such as funding, diversity, community partnerships, and other systemic factors. The introduction to Treat Them Like Gold explains the title:

“Though this guide provides many specific strategies that have proven effective in North Carolina and elsewhere, at its heart is one basic rule: if you want to successfully recruit, retain, and partner with resource families, treat them like gold. This rule must be the foundation of your resource family recruitment and retention (R & R) efforts.

“Why should we treat foster, adoptive, and kinship families like gold? Because without them, life is harder for the families and children we serve, for individual workers, and for our agencies. Without them, we have a much more difficult time keeping siblings together and placing children in their communities. In truth, good foster, adoptive, and kinship families are worth more than gold—they’re priceless.”

You can find the guide at <http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/publications>.

Ways Foster Parents Can Help with
Recruitment & Retention
Sharing experiences and allowing newly-licensed foster parents to meet children in care before they have a placement

Helping prospective foster parents complete applications

Providing parts of pre-service and ongoing trainings

Following up with new contacts with an in-person visit or phone call

Founding and running support groups and foster parent associations

Organizing recognition/appreciation efforts and events

Providing individualized mentoring for new foster parents


Copyright 2009 Jordan Institute for Families