Recruiters know that not all of the individuals who make initial contacts with the agency will complete the process of being certified as foster parents. There is a gradual reduction in the number of people who inquire about foster parenting to the number who attend information sessions, and a similar drop in the number who submit applications and the number that begins MAPP training. This gradual reduction can be illustrated as a "funnel." Read more . . .
One goal of effective recruitment is to widen the bottom of the funnel. Families coming into the funnel should be those who are most likely to stay with the certification process and successfully foster a child. Keep in mind that there may be healthy self-selection out of the process; some prospective families may decide that becoming a foster parent is not for them. Also, your agency may not certify all applicants due to factors such as a problematic background check. The funnel gives an agency a lens for evaluating the numbers and characteristics of families that completed the certification process.
The entire Recruitment & Retention Team should be involved in analyzing the data. The analysis will naturally lead the team to ask some key questions, such as:
Often, these questions will reveal a need for more data or will help the agency target its recruitment efforts.
This worksheet is designed to help agencies organize and assess this data.
Collecting data on the individuals who have contacted the foster care agency and then tracking it over time can reveal bottlenecks in the system. Read more . . .
Bottlenecks in the system are indicated when it takes an unreasonable period of time to complete a particular step. For example, you may find that it takes 18 months for the majority of applicants to be certified as foster parents. By tabulating the time required for each step of the process for all applicants, you discover that it takes an average of five months for a person to start MAPP training after they have submitted an application.
Involve key agency personnel to address the more challenging bottlenecks. Who needs to be around the table to discuss the current challenges and opportunities that may exist? Share the findings revealed by the data and suggest a meeting to discuss the issues.
Click here for suggested strategies for keeping prospective foster parents engaged in the process.