Providing safe homes for children and youth in out-of-home placement and for those awaiting
adoption is an important function of the public child welfare system. Recruiting adults to take on
the role of foster or adoptive parent or mentor and providing them with information that will
support their choice to do so is, at least in part, the responsibility of Communications.
Communications brings knowledge of appropriate media outlets and other communications techniques to
the task. A single-issue communications plan is often employed depending on the breadth of the
Current, local foster and adoptive parents are in a unique position to suggest what recruitment
techniques work best within any given community. If focus group meetings are employed to provide
input, care should be taken to schedule these meetings at a convenient time and location.
Compensation, refreshments and child care should also be considered to incentivize the process.
When prospective foster and adoptive parents contact an agency, they should be asked how they heard
of the agency’s need. In this way, Communications can gauge the most effective recruitment methods
While targeted advertising for foster and adoptive parents is often successful, special events that
garner media attention, such at the Heart Gallery and Adoption Day, bring the subject of the need
for safe temporary and permanent homes for children to the attention of a wider portion of the
Some larger agencies employ the Internet to assist with increasing the pool of prospective foster
and adoptive parents by purchasing advertisements on search engines such as Google or Bing. Such
ads direct the public to the agency web site page
where more specific information is presented.