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Foster Family Recruitment: What the International Research Tells Us.
 

Foster Family Recruitment: What the International Research Tells Us.

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Inaugural Every Child Matters webinar for the Child Welfare League of Canada and the Canadian Foster Family Association....

Inaugural Every Child Matters webinar for the Child Welfare League of Canada and the Canadian Foster Family Association.

ABSTRACT: In common with other western English-speaking countries, foster family recruitment is a major issue for Canadian provinces and territories. Demographic and other societal changes over the last 25 years have led to a decrease in the pool of people with both the motivation and capability to foster, while in many jurisdictions the need and demand for foster care has never been higher. With a particular focus upon research from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, this webinar will critically explore in a very accessible way, the current research evidence on what has been found to "work” in relation to foster family recruitment. As well as examining specific recruitment methods, a strong focus of the presentation will be the research on how agencies can more broadly manage their recruitment efforts in order to ensure that they have sufficient foster families to meet the needs of their children and young people.

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    Foster Family Recruitment: What the International Research Tells Us. Foster Family Recruitment: What the International Research Tells Us. Presentation Transcript

    • Iain Matheson Every Child Matters Webinar March 23, 2011Child Welfare Consultant and Researcher Iain Matheson Child Welfare Consultant and Researcher
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion LESS PLACEMENT CHOICE Further from family, friends & schools Less compatible with foster family Compromised standards? Stretched foster family Needs not being well met HIGHER RISK OF PLACEMENT BREAKDOWN AND POORER OUTCOMES
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Inaugural Every Child Matters webinar  Wide range of provinces and territories  Opportunity for questions at the end
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Director of Matheson Associates, New Zealand  Paper coordinator and senior tutor at Massey University  Doctor of Education candidate  Postgraduate qualifications in social work, child protection, social services management and evaluation research.
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion Introduction Recruitment Conclusion methods Planning and Retention response
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  We know more than we did 25 years ago  Many examples of good practice and growing expertise  Majority of population yet to be reached  Every Child Matters  Research studies in several countries  Some key researchers and writers
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionCanada Australia  Professor Jason Brown  Dr Jenny Higgins  Dr Marilyn McHugh  Professor Alan Leschied  Associate Professor Margaret WilliamsUS UK Cheryl Buehler  Helen Clark Mary Ellen Cox  Dr Clive Sellick John Orme  Emeritus Professor Ian Kathryn Rhodes Sinclair  Emeritus Professor John Triseliotis
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Recruiting foster families is now tougher  Supply of foster families falling  Demand for foster placements rising  Gaps and limitations in the research literature  Challenges in ‘transplanting’ research findings to other countries, provinces & organisations
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionWhich is the most effectivefoster family recruitmentmethod?
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionStrength of research Moderately strong but some variability Includes:  National, provincial or localFeatures  Documentaries or advertising Usually used with other methods TV documentaries as part of broad-based mediaStrengths campaign Good for general awareness-raising Large-scale TV advertising probably not cost- effectiveWeaknesses Some evidence that these families foster for shorter period Cox et al., 2002; Rodwell & Biggerstaff, 1993;Research examples Sellick & Thoburn, 2002; USDHHS, 2002.
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionStrength of research Moderately strong Includes:  Locally produced leafletsFeatures  National or provincial leaflets with local contact information  Wall posters in community venues and offices Opportunities to use images of targeted culturalStrengths groups Provide an action pointWeaknesses -Research examples McHugh et al., 2004; Triseliotis,et al., 1999.
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionStrength of research Strong recruitment method Includes:  Radio announcementsFeatures  Feature advertisements  Newspaper or magazine articles Consistent over a number of studies and overStrengths timeWeaknesses - Lawrence, 1994; McHugh et al., 2004; Sellick &Research examples Howell, 2003; Triseliotis et al., 1998.
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionStrength of Very strong - consistently cited as (one of) the bestresearch recruitment methods Includes:  Family and friend conversationsFeatures  Active involvement of foster families in recruitment  Building relationships with and through organisations Usually used with other methods Use with indigenous communities Use with specific cultural groups or ‘hard to reach’Strengths communities Communication of enthusiasm and authenticity Presumes that your foster families are satisfied with theirWeaknesses relationship with the organisation Lawrence, 1994; Lawton & Rhea Chiles Center, 2000;Research Leschied et al., 2004; Richardson et al., 2005; Rodgers etexamples al., 2006; Triseliotis et al., 1999; USDHHS, 2002.
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionCommunity stalls Limited research evidence of successPublic presentations Limited research evidence of successBillboards Limited coverage in research literatureWeb-based Limited coverage in research literature
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion Could your organisation plan and respond more professionally?
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Better understanding, needs assessment and management (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002; Clarke, 2006; Triseliotis et al., 1999; USDHHS, 2002)  Strategy development one size doesn’t fit all (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002; Cashen, 2003: Clark, 2006; Sellick & Connolly, 2002)  Clear and realistic message about fostering task (Brown et al., 2007; Triseliotis et al., 1999)  Targeted and culturally sensitive recruitment (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002; Brown et al., 2010; Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2004)  Collaboration with community groups (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002)  Continuous effect better than one-off campaigns (Clark, 2006; Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2004)  Recruitment must have a strong local focus (SuccessWorks, 2007; Triseliotis, 1999)
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Importance of budgets and experienced staff (Clark, 2006; Triseliotis, 1999)  Specialist recruitment roles (Clark, 2006; Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2002)  Need for foster family involvement (Leschied et al., 2004; McHugh et al., 2004; Sheldon, 2002; Sinclair, 2005)
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Actually respond! (Fostering Network, 2004; Keogh & Stvensson, 1999)  Criticality of prompt and professional responses (Sinclair et al. 2004)  Potential trigger and ‘drop out’ points (Marcellus, 2010; SuccessWorks, 2007)  Unsuitable applicants (Clarke, 2006; Triseliotis, 1999)
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion Is your current pool of foster families better able to meet the needs of a wider range of children and youth than 2 years ago?
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  We largely know how to support foster families (Berridge, 1997; Brown, 2008; Gibb & Wildfire, 2007; Ivanova & Brown, 2010; McGregor et al., 2006; Sinclair, 2005)  Retention rates impacted when those conditions not in place (Hawken & McHugh, 2006; Leschied et al., 2004; Rhodes et al., 2001; Triseliotis, 1999)  Organisations need to know who is leaving and why (Clarke, 2006; Wilson et al., 2004)
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion  Most care is provided by a relatively small pool of foster families (Gibbs & Wildfire, 2007)  Many new foster families never used (Sellick & Thoburn, 2004; Sinclair, 2005)  Satisfied foster families also critical to recruitment efforts (Leschied et al., 2004; McHugh et al., 2004; SuccessWorks, 2007); Wilson et al., 2007)
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion Cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where soldiers are forced to deliberately fight against hopeless odds (with the foreknowledge that they will suffer extremely high casualties) in an effort to achieve a strategic goal…The term may also be used (somewhat pejoratively) to differentiate infantry from other forces (such as artillery, air force or the navy), or to distinguish expendable low-grade or inexperienced soldiers from supposedly more valuable veterans (Wikipedia, 2011).
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention Conclusion 1. Need for more research and evaluation 2. Some consistent messages from research:  Need a pool of foster families that can meet current and future requirements  Need a blend of methods that includes ‘word of mouth’ and a strong ‘local’ dimension  Need professional approaches to planning and response  Need a clear focus upon retention 3. Clear opportunities for organisations to contribute to creating and building both professional and academic knowledge
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionFor further information or references, feel freeto email me at:iain@mathesonassociates.co.nzhttp://www.mathesonassociates.co.nz
    • Introduction Recruitment Methods Planning & Response Retention ConclusionCWLC - Every Child Matters:http://www.cwlc.ca/ecmAnnie E. Casey’s Recruitment, training, and support:http://www.aecf.org/Home/MajorInitiatives/Family%20to%20Family/~/media/PDFFiles/FamilytoFamily/recruit%20pdf.ashxThe Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare’s Foster carecommunication and recruitment project:http://www.cwav.asn.au/resources/Publication%20Files/Monograph%20No.%2021%20By%20Next%20Tuesday%20Best%20Practice%20Engagement%20Project,%20Foster%20Care%20Recruitment%20and%20Retention.pdfThe Fostering Network’s Attracting and keeping carers:http://www.fostering.net/attracting-keeping-carers-england