How Do I Become a Foster Care Recruiter?

Research shows that over 400,000 children remain in foster care every year. Even more notable, approximately 260,000 children entered care in 2014, but only 238,000 children exited care. The number of foster children in care is slowly growing, so recruiting foster parents is an ongoing challenge in Child Welfare departments in every state. As a result, many state Child Welfare departments are hiring more permanency social workers and foster provider recruiters.


There are endless ways to volunteer through community agencies and child welfare departments. Consider volunteering in an after-school program, or through a local club or organization. Becoming a foster parent to care for infants, children or teenagers is the best way to gain experience. Those with special training, such as nurses, can become medical foster parents, and those with psychology backgrounds, such as therapists, can become special needs foster parents.

Existing foster parents sometimes have six to eight children in their homes, so they always need respite care, which means short-term scheduled child care. Foster children need to be driven to meetings with social workers, court appointed special advocates (CASAs) and doctor and therapy appointments. In fact, almost all states mandate that biological parents have the right to visit their children, who have been placed in the foster system, at least once a week. This means there is strong demand for volunteer drivers to take foster children to local Department of Human Services (DHS) buildings for supervised visits.

Earn the Right Degree

All social workers in the U.S. must have at least a four-year degree from a program that accredited by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is the standard degree for social workers because it provides the education and experience needed for a career in social work. These programs prepare graduates to work with disenfranchised and vulnerable individuals, families and populations.

All of these bachelor degrees in social work will require a field practicum of at least 10 hours. The degree curriculum prepares graduates for the professional responsibilities of social work, which includes legal advocacy, representation and documentation. Sample courses include diversity and oppression, community dynamics and human behavior in the social environments. Other topics include domestic violence, crisis intervention and substance abuse.

Prepare for the Interview

Obtaining government employment as a foster parent recruiter is difficult because of competition and high hiring standards. These interviews often include scenarios that require the candidates to explain how they would prioritize, communicate and handle difficult situations, such as a foster child having an emotional meltdown in public, or a parent becoming aggressive and threatening.

The interview will most likely ask how the candidate deals with stress, difficult clients and complex interpersonal situations. Candidates should be prepared to ask the interviewers how many foster parents are licensed and how many foster children are placed in the community. Job candidates should research the turnover rates for foster parents and how often foster children are moving. Be sure to know why children are placed in residential settings.

The final step in becoming a foster care recruiter is to work as a state-certifier of foster homes. Certifiers recruit foster parents, place foster children in homes and if necessary, remove them.