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May 2009Vol. 10, No. 4Partnering With Resource Families

The availability of resource families, including foster parents, adoptive families, relatives providing kinship care, and legal guardians, is essential to effective child welfare practice. A new publication, Treat Them Like Gold: A Best Practice Guide to Partnering With Resource Families, provides guidance on how agency personnel at all levels can support efforts to recruit, retain, and partner with foster parents and other resource families.

According to the guide, treating resource families like “gold” takes many forms, including taking the time to get to know them, treating them as peers on the team serving the child and family, helping them develop their skills and knowledge to care for children, and showing them the respect they deserve for the pivotal role they play.

Specific strategies are provided for assessing and evaluating recruitment efforts, funding, building diversity and cultural sensitivity, engaging families, and building community alliances. Strategies addressing community education and public awareness, recruitment activities, training, and retention are also provided.

The guide was developed by the North Carolina Division of Social Services and the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. The guide is available online: