Describing current foster homes and children in care


Targeted recruitment directs an agency's resources and efforts where they are mostly likely to yield results. As a data-driven technique, it requires agencies to have an accurate picture of the types of foster homes that are needed in your area. To get this picture, you will need information about the current foster homes and the children receiving foster care. This will allow you to determine the gaps between available homes and homes that will meet the needs of children coming into care.

Obtain data on children who were placed in foster care through your agency over the previous 12 months, including as many key demographics as possible. In New York State, a list of placements may be created from reports compiled by the OCFS Data Warehouse, such as the "Foster Care Roster by District" or "Admissions to Foster Care Summary" report. Your county's Data Warehouse liaison can help you access these reports. If your county has no liaison, contact the OCFS Regional Office in your area.

OCFS publishes Monitoring and Analysis Profiles (MAPS) each year that provide county- and state-level data related to foster care, adoption, and child protective services. MAPS for each county, New York City, upstate New York, and the state as a whole are available online.

MAPS data includes an annual summary of the numbers and percentages of:

  • Children who were admitted to foster care during past 12 months and each of the previous four years
  • Children who were discharged from foster care during past 12 months and each of the previous four years
  • Children who were in care at the end of the 12-month period and each of the previous four years
  • Age/race/ethnicity of children in care
  • Sibling groups of two, three, or more than four
  • Where children were discharged (birth family, relatives, etc.)
  • Percent of children in care placed in kinship homes

Depending on the size of your agency, you may want to use local data systems or review a sample of case files to supplement what is available from other sources. This information might include:

  • Sibling group (including size of sibling group)
  • School district or community district where child resided at time of placement
  • Special needs (medical, physical, cognitive, emotional)

This worksheet developed by the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment can be used as a model for organizing your data.

Foster care agencies in New York State are required to submit Recruitment and Retention Plans to OCFS every three years. Your agency's report may provide data projections and the basis for its current recruitment focus.

Characteristics of foster homes

The characteristics of the agency's pool of foster homes can be obtained from agency records, from data such as demographic information, location, and placement preferences. Read more . . .

Information should be gathered on the current pool of foster/adoptive and kinship homes, including:

  • The number of foster/adoptive and kinship homes
  • The demographic characteristics of the current pool of foster families.
  • Placement preferences of the current families (age and gender of children, special needs, etc.)
  • Locations of current foster homes in each neighborhood area.
  • The number of foster families that have not had a placement within the past six months

It is worthwhile to track kinship homes. By determining the proportion of your certified homes that are kinship foster homes, you can more accurately establish the number of available homes for children in non-kinship settings. 

OCFS Data Warehouse reports that can be used to access this data include the "Facility Detail Report" and the "Facility Summary List Report." This worksheet developed by the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment can be used as a model for organizing your data.