Study Shows “Child-Focused Recruitment” Finds Families for Youth in Foster Care

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) champions a host of efforts to find permanent, loving families for children waiting in foster care.  A recent, independent study of DTFA’s work found that foster children served by a child-focused recruitment model were significantly more likely to be adopted than children not served by this model.  As the DTFA news release describes:

“Child-focused recruitment is a model used by DTFA’s signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK), which provides local adoption agencies with grants to hire dedicated adoption recruiters who spend 100 percent of their job focused on finding waiting children forever homes. The study found older children and children with mental health disorders achieved even higher rates of adoption.”

“With relatively small caseloads of up to 15 children, WWK recruiters develop an individualized plan for each child based on the child’s background and specific needs. Recruiters also build one-on-one relationships with each child to determine the child’s strengths, challenges, desires and preparedness for adoption. The recruiters conduct diligent searches for family members that may be a match for the child, meet regularly with the child and all important players in the child’s case, and measure their progress against quantifiable goals for adoptions.”

Not surprisingly, 95% of the organizations in the study reported they used “faith-based recruiting strategies” in seeking to find families willing to adopt.

Outcomes reported by the study include:

 Children in foster care served by WWK recruiters are more than 1.7 times more likely to be adopted than those not served by WWK.

 For older children, the impact of the WWK model is greater and increases with age:

o For children referred to WWK at age 8, the likelihood of adoption was one-and-one-half times higher;

o For children referred at age 11, the likelihood was two times higher; and

o For children referred at age 15, the likelihood of adoption was three times higher.

 Children with mental health disorders served by WWK are three times more likely to find forever families than those not served by WWK.