CHILD WELFARE MANUAL

Section 4, Chapter 9 (Adoption and Guardianship Process), Subsection 2 – Adoptive Family Recruitment Process

Effective Date:  5-1-19

 

Any child in CD custody who is available for adoption and is not being adopted by the current resource provider family is available for placement with any approved adoptive family. Selecting a placement resource shall be conducted via the Adoption Staffing process.

Prior to the staffing, recruitment of perspective adoptive families may be necessary. The adoptive family selection process begins with the Children’s Service Worker conducting a search for approved adoptive families. Search activities may include sharing the child’s profile by using the AdoptUSKids website, or the Adoption Exchange’s website. Staff can also send an email out to Resource Development workers across the state sharing the child’s profile and requesting approved home assessments from families. Keep in mind, the email may be forwarded on to adoptive families by the Resource Development workers.

9.2.1 Child’s Media Profile

The child’s profile should include the following:

Purpose Statement (to be used at the beginning): “The purpose of the information provided below is to briefly introduce you to the child (ren) for whom our agency is recruiting an adoptive placement.”

DO INCLUDE:

  • At the top of the profile list separately the child’s first name, date of birth (mo/yr), race and gender. School grade information can be added if necessary.
  • Within the narrative, be creative, energetic, use descriptive words
  • Use an attention-getting phrase to begin the narrative and draw readers in.
  • Include likes, hobbies, interests, what they want (family, life, goals, pets, church)
  • Describe the child’s personality.
  • School – information about the child’s educational accomplishments or needs.
  • Special issues – contact with siblings, family or past placement providers
  • Positive quotes from the child caregiver (don’t refer to the “residential” caregiver)
  • Quotes from the child describing themselves (i.e. Favorite thing about themselves, etc.)
  • Serious medical diagnosis and treatment involved.
  • A description of the child’s need for a family with particular skills or family configuration (don’t limit to a two-parent family if that is not necessary).
  • Legal Status
  • Add the date updated/completed at the bottom of profile.
  • The profile needs to be at least three paragraphs, and 120-150 words. NO more than 1 – 1 ½ pages in length.
  • If you have a photo, state it is available upon request.

Ending Statement (to be used at the end): “For more detailed information about (child’s name) contact (worker name and phone).”

DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Identifying information within the narrative(i.e., child’s last name, school’s name, city where child resides, parent’s names, date and reason the child is in care, and history of abuse/neglect (any significant information may be included in the confidential narrative section).
  • Details about failed past placements (any significant information may be included in the confidential narrative section).
  • Anything that might be embarrassing to the child. Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable showing this to the child, and would it make them uncomfortable?”
  • Date of births, age or grades in school as a part of the narrative.

Answer all responses to search/e-mail recruitment activities, within five (5) working days, using the following instructions as applicable:

  • Submit assessment(s) to requesting county, identifying the sending worker and location. The information should note approval for submittal by the supervisor/Circuit Manager.
  • Refer responses to the county office or other state/private agency consistent with their residence, if responding family requires an adoption study.
  • Regularly inform county of jurisdiction of results of recruitment activities.

The initial number of assessments accepted for Adoption Staffing review will be reduced to three (3) to five (5) identified families through the preliminary screening process.

In some instances it may be necessary to wait for an adoptive assessment to be completed before selecting a family. The family’s worker should be kept informed of plans for the staffing.

9.2.2 Finding Adoptive Families for Children       

The Division’s commitment to permanency for every child is the basis of the following search and recruitment plan. It involves sequential activities designed to utilize all possible resources in Missouri, the region and the nation in finding a permanent family for a child.

No later than the end of the first month following the decision that a child is available for adoption, the worker shall carry out the steps outlined below:

  • Workers shall complete the Consent for Special Recruitment Efforts – CD-AE-1b and obtain a court order allowing special recruitment for the child.
  • Workers shall write the Child’s Media Profile. Workers shall obtain a photograph of the child or sibling group available for adoption. Please attempt to utilize professional photographers for pictures of the children. You can utilize the photographers from the Heart Gallery or the Adoption Exchange is able to assist in connecting workers with photographers in their geographical location.
  • Supervisors shall review the adoption profile.
  • Workers shall complete the Waiting Child Registration on-line via The Adoption Exchange.  The Waiting Child Registration will also serve as the referral for the Heart Gallery, The Adoption Exchange and AdoptUSKids.  Once the registration has been filled out on The Adoption Exchange website, an email should be sent to Vickie Stoneberger with Heart Gallery typed in the subject line and the court order or CD-AE-1b attached to signify that media recruitment by the court has been ordered.
  • Workers are responsible for the referral of children with a goal of adoption that do not have an identified adoptive placement to The Adoption Exchange.  The Adoption Exchange has the responsibility of adding the children to the AdoptUSKids website and The Adoption Exchange website.
  • Send a statewide e-mail request for adoptive assessments of approved families including the following information:
    • Name and county of sending worker or agency;
    • First name only, gender, cultural identity, and age of child for whom you are seeking an adoptive family placement resource;
    • Brief description of child’s legal status, appearance, health and handicap status, background and interests/hobbies;
    • Preferred characteristics of family sought for child;
    • Information about screening/formal staffing plan including date, time and place.
  • Refer minority children to any Children’s Division (CD) special recruitment projects.
  • Worker shall write Child’s Summary for Adoption Placement. A thorough and accurate pre-placement study of the child is a critical component of the adoption process. The information provided assists potential families and the Adoption Staffing team members in making an informed decision regarding the child. Prior to an Adoption Staffing being scheduled the Child’s Summary for Adoption should be provided to the pre-adoptive families selected through the preliminary screening process. The families should then be given ten (10) business days to review the Child’s Summary and provide their written responses on the Family Response Form (CD-192). Also, this information may be important to the child if/when he has questions regarding his heritage. The Children’s Service Worker may contact a number of resources to complete the pre-placement study including birth parents/relatives, physicians, placement provider, teacher and the child. The Children’s Service Worker completing the child’s summary is not to include identifying information of the birth parents.

The outline that should be followed when preparing the child’s summary for adoption placement can be found in E-Forms under Child’s Summary for Adoption Placement.

  • Within the first two months when needed; the worker shall initiate other child specific recruitment activities, i.e. Wednesday’s Child appearances, A Place to Call Home appearances or involvement in the Linking Hearts Adoption Event. Requests for assistance and additional information are to be made directly to the Adoption Unit in Central Office.
  • Following the establishment of the goal of adoption, there will be regular supervisory reviews of each child for whom an appropriate resource cannot be located. The review will be conducted weekly for children 12-months and under, and monthly for children over 12-months. This procedure includes:
  1.  
    • Reviewing recruitment activities and responses to recruitment,
    • Identifying barriers to placement,
    • Reviewing the child’s narrative profile to ensure that the child’s strengths are presented in an appealing manner,
    • Determine additional plans and activities for continuing to meet the child’s goal of permanency through adoption, such as: participation in various adoption fairs/carnivals around the state; and
    • Record in the child’s narrative in FACES under supervisory consult that the supervisor has reviewed the recruitment efforts and documented any additional efforts that will be utilized. The supervisor should review and approve the narrative.
  • When required procedures have not been implemented, the immediate supervisor must outline with the worker a process for recruiting families for any child waiting for adoptive placement.
  • It is the Division’s preference that children obtain the permanency of adoption rather than permitting the child to remain indefinitely in out-of-home care. Therefore, the following activities should be carried out on a regular basis for any “waiting” child:
    • Follow-up immediately on any subsequent referrals from exchanges, recruitment activity, etc.
    • Initiate additional e-mail requests at reasonable intervals; i.e., every three months.
    • Continue indefinitely, recruitment activities and other methods of making known the child’s need for permanency through adoption

9.2.3 Photo Listing (The Adoption Exchange, MO Heart Gallery, and AdoptUSKids)

When it has been determined that adoption is the plan for a child and there is a need to recruit family resources, complete the Waiting Child Registration on-line via The Adoption Exchange. The Waiting Child Registration will serve as the referral for the Heart Gallery, The Adoption Exchange and the AdoptUSKids website.  For the child to be placed on the Heart Gallery website, an electronic copy of the registration and the court order or CD-AE-1b should be sent via email to Vickie.Stoneberger@dss.mo.gov with Heart Gallery typed in the subject line.

The Adoption Exchange has the responsibility of adding children to the AdoptUSKids.org website; however, each Adoption Specialist must have access to this site assigned by a designee from Central Office. If you need access, contact Central Office Adoption Unit and access information will be assigned. The worker is responsible for making changes to the child’s profile, updating the child’s picture as needed or making changes to the profile as needed.  If assistance is needed, Central Office Adoption Unit staff are available to provide technical assistance.  Training is also available through AdoptUSKids tutorials accessible after login or by signing up for free web training at Web-Training@adoptuskids.org.    

Creating AdoptUSKids Case Identification Numbers: Children entered on the AdoptUSKids web site must have an identification number. By registering the child(ren) with The Adoption Exchange, the child, will automatically be added to the AdoptUSKids website and they will assign a number for the child.  No agency should use any part of the child’s DCN, SSN, Call Case Number or JO number as the child’s AdoptUSKids case number, as this identification number is viewable to the public.

The child’s DCN should be used in the last name field with the child’s last name so that the child can easily be located.  If the child is not registered through The Adoption Exchange website, Foster Care Case Management and Specialized Care cases should create their own system to determine AdoptUSKids case identification numbers. The Children’s Division staff should use the following as a breakdown of how the case identification number should be created:

The child’s case number will ALWAYS begin with “MO”, which stands for Missouri.

  • The next two numbers are to represent the area which has jurisdiction of the child (see area assignment codes below).
  • The next three numbers are to represent the FIPS County code for the county that case manages the child.
  • The next five numbers are to represent the employee’s worker number.
  • The last two numbers are to represent the chronological order in which the child was entered onto the web site.            

NOTE: The following are the Area Assignment Codes as listed on AdoptUSKids.org:

01 = Central Office                                         05 = Area 1/Northwest Region

02 = Area 5/Jackson County                         06 = Area 6/St. Louis City

03 = Area 3/Southeast Region                       07 = Area 7/St. Louis County

04 = Area 4/Southwest Region                     08 = Area 2/Northeast Region

Example Case Identification Number for Lisa:

MO080071234501

Lisa is from Northeast Region, Audrain County, her worker’s # is 12345 and she is the first child to be listed on the worker’s log.

Case Identification Assignment Log: Workers are to maintain a log of children who appear on AdoptUSKids, The Adoption Exchange and the Heart gallery that contains the date registered and the child information.  This will allow the worker to keep track of children entered on the web sites, as well as provide a listing of children that workers can staff with their supervisors in regard to recruitment for permanency. 

Photographs: A clear, attractive picture of the child(ren) should be used to recruit for the child.  A school or professional picture is best; however a clear snapshot will work.  Photos for AdoptUSKids, Missouri Heart Gallery and The Adoption Exchange should be formatted in jpeg or jpg image files.

Photographs should be:

  • Current, within six (6) months
  • Good, realistic, age appropriate representations of the child
  • Smiling, positive photo
  • Clear color pictures
  • Face/head shots will provide the clearest view of the child
  • Professional photographs when possible
  • Pictures of siblings as groups if possible
  • Modest clothing
  • Photos should reflect the professionalism of the agency

Photographs should NOT include:

  • Identifying clothes/information in background
  • Polaroids
  • Questionable attire
  • “Glamour” shots type of pictures
  • Shadows or bright shots
  • Special effects
  • High gloss professional shots which present difficulty in scanning
  • Paper print outs from digital cameras or Xeroxed reproductionsA photo is required before the child’s profile can be viewed by families and public users. One photo can be added to each child profile. For workers who are adding the child only to the AdoptUSKids website, a digital photo may be sent to photos@AdoptUSKids.org, or mail a hard copy to:

AdoptUSKids Photos

                       520 Pike Street, Suite 1350

                       Seattle, WA 98101

You may also add a video or audio clip to a child profile on the AdoptUSKids website. The video or audio clip is viewable by all website visitors.

Media Profile Outline: Please follow the Media Profile Outline provided below.  This profile may be used when providing brief profiles for recruitment purposes:

Purpose Statement (to be used at the beginning): “The purpose of the information provided below is to briefly introduce you to the child(ren) for whom our agency is recruiting an adoptive placement.”

Do Include:

  • At the top of the Profile:
    • List separately, Child’s first name, date of birth (mo/yr), race and gender.
  • Within the Narrative:
    • Be creative, energetic, and use descriptive words (see list of descriptive adjectives located in Attachment A.)
  • Use an attention-getting phrase to begin the narrative and draw readers in.
  • Include likes, hobbies, interests, what they want (family, life, goals, pets, church)
  • Describe the child’s personality.
  • School – information about the child’s educational accomplishments or needs.
  • Special issues – contact with siblings, family or past placement provider
  • Positive quotes from the child caregiver (don’t refer to the “residential” caregiver)
  • Quotes from the child describing themselves (i.e. Favorite thing about themselves, etc.)
  • Serious medical diagnosis and treatment involved.
  • A description of the child’s need for a family with particular skills or family configuration (don’t limit to a two-parent family if that is not necessary).
  • Legal Status
  • Add the date updated/completed at the bottom of profile.
  • The profile needs to be at least three paragraphs, and 120-150 words. NO more than 1 – 1 ½ pages in length.

Ending Statement (to be used at the end): “For more detailed information about (child’s name) contact (worker name and phone).

Do Not Include Within the Narrative:

  • Identifying information within the narrative(i.e., child’s last name, school’s name, city where child resides, parent’s names, date and reason the child is in care, and history of abuse/neglect (any significant information may be included in the confidential narrative section).
  • Details about failed past placements (any significant information may be included in the confidential narrative section).
  • Anything that might be embarrassing to the child. Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable showing this to the child, and would it make them uncomfortable?”
  • Date of births, age or grades in school as a part of the narrative. The child’s age is automatically updated on the Internet web-site.

Worker Responsibilities for the Recruitment of Children on The Adoption Exchange Website, Missouri Heart Gallery and AdoptUSKids:

  • Gather and send information to the Adoption Exchange so that they may create a child profile;
  • Create a child profile to use on all three websites (if appropriate);
  • Obtain photos of the child(ren);
  • Workers are to answer all inquiries within 3 business days of receiving the inquiry;
  • Make status changes, for example, FIP-Family In Progress, when necessary; and
  • Update the profile information for children when needed.

Managing Child Profiles on AdoptUSKids: AdoptUSKids provides the worker with a “My Home” page. This page is specific to the worker who signs in, and will provide the worker with information regarding the children they have entered onto the site. AdoptUSKids will provide reminders when a child is in need of a photograph, how many open inquires there are, and how many inactive cases the worker may have. It is recommended that workers check the AdoptUSKids site on a weekly basis, answering all inquiries within 3 business days of the inquiry so that prompt response can be provided to families who inquire about a specific child. If the child’s profile is not updated yearly, AdoptUSKids will automatically take that child’s photo off the public site and place them in “inactive” status. This will cause the recruitment efforts for this child to be put on hold until an update can be entered.

If a child’s case is re-assigned to a new worker (that already has access to AdoptUSKids) the current worker or Location Administrator will have the responsibility to reassign the child’s AdoptUSKids case. To obtain initial access to the AdoptUSKids website for new workers the supervisor will need to notify Central Office Adoption Unit, providing the worker’s name, correct e-mail address and contact information so that the worker can be added as a case manager with access to AdoptUSKids.

In the event that the child’s case is transferred to a contracted or specialized case management agency, the new worker for the case will be responsible for contacting AdoptUSKids IT or Central Office Adoption Unit with the correct contact information for that child. Each agency is responsible for managing their own cases on the AdoptUSKids website.