June 17, 2020 – Greensboro, NC – Children’s Home Society of NC (CHS) has surpassed a major milestone – its Child-Focused Recruitment (CFR) program is now serving more than 90% of the children in foster care in North Carolina in need of these services. This achievement is significant for North Carolina as it allows youth statewide with the greatest need for a permanent family to be served by CHS. Additionally, it serves as a national model for taking an effective program to full scale.
Child-Focused Recruitment uses a defined approach, the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids model, developed by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA), that focuses on identifying a forever family for the longest-waiting children in foster care. The program connects youth with extended family who share genetic, legal, or social relationships, or an adoptive family that is uniquely suited for the youth.
A five-year, rigorous national evaluation of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, completed by Child Trends, found that this method of child-focused recruitment is dramatically more successful than business as usual:
- Children served by the model were 1.7 times more likely to be adopted
- Older children were 3 times more likely to be adopted
- Children with mental health issues were more than 3 times more likely to be adopted
- The older the child served, the higher the likelihood of being adopted when served by the program
Prior to CHS’s partnership with DTFA to implement the model in North Carolina, there was not an effective practice in place to serve older children in foster care awaiting adoption and prevent them from aging out of foster care with no supports in place.
“At the core of what we do is identifying the need and constructing a solution for children and families,” said Rebecca Starnes, CHS Vice President of Programs. “We are pleased to offer this as a case study to the greater child welfare and family services field as a coordinated approach to making a significant impact on a particular problem.”
CHS currently serves 780 youth in its CFR program with 38 Child-Focused Recruiters. This has grown from four years ago when CHS served 266 youth with 13 Recruiters. This significant growth has been experienced while maintaining high levels of fidelity. This growth and excellence have been possible due to strong partnerships that have included private, state, and federal funding. When DTFA began looking at providing assistance in bringing states to full scale, North Carolina and CHS rose to the top due in part to the NC General Assembly’s commitment of state and federal funds to this program in 2013 and then increasing that funding in 2017. Additional funding was included in the 2019 legislative budget as well.
For more information on Children’s Home Society and our mission to ensure a permanent, safe, and loving family for every child, and to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, volunteering, or providing financial support, please call 1-800-632-1400 or visit www.chsnc.org.
Last year Children’s Home Society served more than 24,000 North Carolina children and families in its mission to promote the right of every child to a permanent, safe, and loving family. This included providing a safe haven for more than 1,000 children with foster care families, giving 214 children a permanent family to call their own through adoption, and providing educational services to more than 17,000 teens, parents, and professionals.