Monroe County Department of Human Services came to us in 2002 with a troubling problem. For the last several years, the department had closed more foster homes each year than it had opened. The costs of out-of-county placement for foster kids were going through the roof, and soon, there would not be enough foster homes to support the program. At Metrix, we took an analytical approach. What motivates people to become foster parents, and why do so many seemingly good prospects drop out of sight? We conducted a series of focus groups for the county with families who had become foster parents. What we learned in those focus groups has informed years of stability and even growth in the foster parent population. Over the years, we have done numerous rounds of new advertising, have developed an in-house foster care expertise that has allowed us to conduct hundreds of foster care information sessions for small groups of interested people, and have moved foster care recruitment to its own website, www.MoroeFosterCare.org.
But just because we have been doing the work for so long, doesn’t mean that we’ve gotten stale. We are always coming up with new ideas, TV commercials, social media, and digital campaigns, and community outreach. We have added appreciation events, recruitment coordinators, current foster parent feature posts, and a newsletter to the growing list of the many things we already do.