Foster Home Estimator: Helping Child Welfare Agencies Plan for Family Recruitment

Posted July 1, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog fosterhomeestimator 2016

Child wel­fare agen­cies have an urgent need for car­ing, com­mit­ted fos­ter par­ents. A new tool, the Fos­ter Home Esti­ma­tor, can help agen­cies build a more robust pool of fos­ter par­ents by more accu­rate­ly esti­mat­ing how many addi­tion­al fos­ter homes are need­ed, espe­cial­ly for spe­cif­ic pop­u­la­tions of chil­dren, such as teens or large sib­ling groups.

Down­load the Fos­ter Home Esti­ma­tor (Microsoft Excel)

The esti­ma­tor was test­ed and enhanced through years of col­lab­o­ra­tion between pub­lic agen­cies and the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. Our teams of con­sul­tants have worked hand in hand with admin­is­tra­tors, staff and case work­ers — plus fos­ter and kin care­givers — to deter­mine how best to esti­mate the need for fos­ter homes,” says Tracey Feild, who directs the Foundation’s child wel­fare work. The esti­ma­tor dove­tails with Casey’s fos­ter par­ent Recruit­ment, Devel­op­ment and Sup­port approach, which applies mod­ern tech­niques to encour­ag­ing more com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to serve as fos­ter parents.

Judy Wild­fire of Wild­fire Asso­ciates, who devel­oped the esti­ma­tor with nation­al con­sul­tant Denise Good­man, notes the tool has been refined to help agen­cies tar­get recruit­ment by geog­ra­phy, age, race and nation­al ori­gin. This helps agen­cies meet the require­ments of the Mul­ti-Eth­nic Place­ment Act and the Indi­an Child Wel­fare Act.

The esti­ma­tor is best used as part of efforts to improve how your agency is meet­ing the needs of kids and fam­i­lies,” says Wild­fire. Use it to stim­u­late rich dis­cus­sions about agency poli­cies, prac­tices and aspi­ra­tions. Kids real­ly need fos­ter par­ents. The esti­ma­tor is a key step in locat­ing and sup­port­ing these crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant caregivers.”

Learn How To Use the Fos­ter Home Estimator

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