If you are a Wisconsin Foster Care Coordinator, COVID has, as with so many things, thrown a wrench in the gears. You’re working hard to stay afloat, and recruitment may have gone the way of in-person home visits and Christmas banquets. So, when prospective foster parents do show up and begin the path toward licensing, how do you ensure those families are supported and engaged from start to finish? 

If you attended the recent Foster Care Coordinators’ Conference hosted by the Coalition and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, you heard dozens of ideas from recruitment guru Denise Goodman, Ph.D. Dr. Goodman provided some great points to consider when supporting prospective families. Here are some things to remember about that first call prospective parents make to your agency: 

  • The prospective parent is calling to get information, not to answer questions.
  • YOU are the first impression the caller is getting of the agency
  • Prospective parents want to feel welcome and needed
  • Help the caller get to the next step in the process
  • The “personal touch” is essential! 

Here are more ideas, these specifically around collecting documentation from families:

  • Provide postage-stamped envelopes 
  • Give checklists
  • Help the applicant complete the forms
  • Encourage the use of email and uploading documents
  • Send “homework” and reminders
  • Be patient – they’re a busy family

Want more ideas on supporting families you’re taking through the licensing process? Contact a Resource Specialist at the Coalition, or check out the resources below.