Home is where the heart is, they say. This is the driving sentiment for state child welfare agencies committed to helping more than 428,000 children in the U.S. find the right home with a foster family.
Placing each child in an appropriate environment is integral to the child’s healthy development. Across the U.S., child welfare agencies are charged with recruiting, licensing, training, and retaining high-quality child welfare providers. The first step in this journey is to promote foster parenting and cultivate interest among individuals interested in fostering, which requires child welfare agency directors and recruitment managers to create and execute measurable marketing campaigns. These campaigns must efficiently target individuals that want to make a difference and communicate the right message to increase foster care placements.
Shortage of foster care parents
Few roles are quite as challenging as recruiting for a child welfare agency. With limited budgets and personnel resources, agencies must diligently scrutinize every available dollar, making recruiting for new foster families an incredible challenge. Agencies grapple with an increasing number of children entering the foster care system, in part due to the opioid crisis since many children have been taken out of the care of their addicted parents.
Complex, industry-standard marketing automation platforms and analytics tools that global enterprises enjoy aren’t options for resource-restricted state agencies’ marketing needs. Instead, agencies often resort to inefficient and time-consuming manual marketing practices using less robust tools—billboards beside the road, bus stop advertisements, basic email marketing systems, and consumer-grade social media publishing systems—that aren’t designed to work within an expansive ecosystem.
The inefficient and ineffective methods for generating interest among potential foster families results in lower in-home foster care placements. For example, an estimated 1 in 7 children in the child welfare system is placed in a group home or institution rather than in a private family home. Research shows that living in a group home or institution can adversely affect a child’s overall development, making them more likely than youth living with foster families to test below standards, drop out of school, or get arrested.
In addition, group placements are 7 to 10 times costlier than placing a child with a foster family. Child welfare agencies looking to help more children need an improved way to get their message out to potential foster parents. Specifically, directors and recruiters need fast and intuitive solutions to create new outreach campaigns. They also need greater visibility into who engages with their campaigns to support retargeting strategies. Plus, agencies must measure, analyze, and report on their campaigns to optimize their approach to connect children in the child welfare system with foster parents.
Foster Care Recruitment Solution powered by Microsoft and Adobe
Microsoft and Adobe have teamed up to deliver a technology solution specifically designed to assist child welfare agencies reach and recruit potential foster parents. This cost-efficient solution improves how agencies engage with potential foster parents across all communication channels and provides data and insights that help organizations refine strategies and improve outcomes.
Connected digital experiences with Microsoft Dynamics + Adobe Experience Manager Forms
Allows agencies to manage messaging to potential foster parents across channels and platforms. Organizations can create and edit branded forms to capture information from potential foster parents in the Microsoft Dynamics database.
Defined audiences with Adobe Target + Adobe Campaign
Agencies can determine the most suitable target audience of potential foster parents based on behaviors, attributes, and more. They can segment based on these attributes for personalized campaigns that are relevant for each segment.
Personalized marketing with Microsoft Dynamics + Adobe Campaign
Agencies can use known user data from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM to personalize marketing campaigns, achieving greater engagement with potentials and greater loyalty among existing foster parents. Drag-and-drop functionality accelerates campaign development, scheduling, and execution across online and offline channels—freeing up recruitment managers to focus on other high-value activities.
Optimize with Adobe Analytics + Microsoft Power BI
Campaign managers can aggregate data about opens and clicks to measure preferred communication channels, frequency preferences, and other metrics to refine campaigns for more effective outreach. They can access and share robust reporting and data visualizations from many input sources, with at-a-glance campaign metrics to measure ROI and stay informed.
Better outcomes for foster children
Every child needs a home and a family that can support and champion them throughout the fostering process. Child welfare agencies continue to search for new and better ways to carry out their mission amid tight budgets and stretched resources.
The Foster Care Recruitment Solution powered by Microsoft and Adobe empowers child welfare agencies to efficiently recruit more foster parents, ultimately placing more children in the homes that best support their well-being.
See how Microsoft and Adobe solutions can impact foster families here.
Thanks to Jennifer McNeill, Strategic Partner Manager, Adobe; Gaurav Garg, Lead Architect, Microsoft; and Ruthie Seale, HHS Industry Specialist, Microsoft for their contributions to this article.