AdoptUSKids is a multifaceted, national project of the Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau that provides tools and technical assistance to help child welfare systems connect children in foster care with families. The mission of AdoptUSKids is twofold:
- Raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system and
- Assist US states, territories, and tribes to recruit, engage, develop, and support foster and adoptive families.
AdoptUSKids operates as a cooperative agreement between the Children’s Bureau and the National Adoption Association. During FY 2023, the Children’s Bureau provided AdoptUSKids with a supplement to the existing cooperative agreement to develop and operate the new National Center for Diligent Recruitment (NCDR). AdoptUSKids centers the voices of those with lived expertise and achieves its goals by operating a wide range of programming and services, including the following:
- The National Adoption Internet Photolisting helps connect children in need of permanent homes with parents who are eager to adopt.
- The National Adoption Recruitment Campaign promotes adoption from foster care and raises awareness of the children and teens who are waiting to be adopted. The PSAs for FY 2024 feature actual adoptive families sharing their adoption from foster care stories, detailing how rewarding the journey has been for both parents and teens—in their own words.
- The National Adoption and Foster Care Information Exchange System educates families about foster care and adoption and gives child welfare professionals information and support to help them improve their services.
- The National Center for Diligent Recruitment coordinates and assists child welfare leaders with strategic and outcome-based diligent recruitment initiatives that promote positive outcomes for children, youth, and families who are supported by the U.S. foster care system. In support, and of benefit to states, territories, and tribes, the Center provides free on-site training and technical assistance to develop and implement data-informed diligent recruitment plans.
- The Minority Professional Leadership Development Fellowship is a 12-month program designed for emerging minority leaders working in the child welfare field. The structured program includes hands-on experience, exposure to national experts, and mentorship opportunities.
- The AdoptUSKids website is an easily accessible, well-organized, user-friendly repository for information that address a broad range of issues related to the recruitment & retention of foster & adoptive parents.
The AdoptUSKids Evaluation Team has been in the role of the research or evaluation team for AdoptUSKids since 2002 and is currently led by Susan Ayers-Lopez, Patricia Cody, and Michelle Steinley-Bumgarner. The team includes Sahitya Neeli, Sarah Merisier, Jo Hamilton, Alejandra Moreno, and Shannon Doyle, with consulting from Ruth McRoy. The Evaluation Team conducts process and outcome evaluations using qualitative (e.g., focus group and open-ended survey questions) and quantitative (e.g., secondary data analyses & standardized instrument analyses) methods to determine the effectiveness of the program work conducted by AdoptUSKids and the NCDR. The team works collaboratively across all project components, maintaining a high level of rigor, and providing data and analyses to assist with programming refinements. Findings from evaluation activities assess the impact and effectiveness of project activities and assist in creating links between those data and ways it can support quality improvement of all services offered by AdoptUSKids and the NCDR.