Extreme Recruitment®

About This Program

Target Population: Children ages 10-18 years old who have been in out-of-home care for over 15 months; the program will also work with younger children if they are part of a sibling group that includes a child aged 10-18 years old

For children/adolescents ages: 10 – 18

Program Overview

Extreme Recruitment® is a race to find an adoptive home for a child in a fraction of the time it would normally take. The program works exclusively with the hardest-to-place children in foster care (ages 10-18, sibling groups, children with elevated needs, etc.). Extreme Recruitment® requires weekly, intensive meetings between the child's professional team members for 12-20 weeks. The added ingredient that makes Extreme Recruitment® unique is the use of a private investigator. This has significantly increased the ability to locate relatives of children in care. During the weekly meetings, the team develops action plans to address adoption recruitment activities, family finding, and preparing the youth for adoption by addressing their current and foreseeable needs.

Program Goals

The goals of Extreme Recruitment® are:

  • Reconnect 85% of the youth served with relatives/kin (contact via phone call, letter or visit with an adult relative who has had no contact with the youth for at least six months)
  • Identify a permanency resource (an individual committed to adoption, guardianship, or adult adoption of a youth) for 70% of youth served

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Extreme Recruitment®.

Essential Components

The essential components of Extreme Recruitment® include:

  • Weekly 30-minute team meetings are held for 12-20 weeks.
  • Recruiters must explore connections from the youth's past as well as conduct extensive family finding.
  • Family finding is not exclusively done from behind a desk. Recruiters and investigators follow leads by knocking on doors and traveling to the information sources.
  • Recruiters must conduct general, targeted, and child-specific recruitment activities simultaneously. The case management team, in cooperation with the Extreme Recruiter, will determine the most appropriate recruitment activities.
  • Recruiters, in cooperation with team members, must prepare the youth for adoption by focusing on meeting their current mental health, physical health, and educational needs as well as ensuring that they have an appropriate peer and adult relationship.
  • An action plan is created at each of the weekly meetings that assigns tasks to professionals on the youth's team. These tasks are to be completed prior to the next weekly meeting.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Extreme Recruitment® directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • A child languishing in foster care and aging out without a permanent family
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Family members found through Extreme Recruitment® are encouraged to be active members of the child's support team. Depending on their level of involvement, they may participate in family therapy, assist the child in school, etc. The professional team for the youth would work with the relative to determine how they can meet the child's needs.

Recommended Intensity:

The initial team meeting for a case is between 60 and 90 minutes; the team then meets for 30 minutes each week

Recommended Duration:

12-20 weeks

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

An agency would require the necessary meeting space to accommodate a team of professionals for a child in foster care. Personnel requirements would include at least one Extreme Recruiter and at least one Investigator, as well the appropriate supervisory support. Access to the internet to conduct online searches for family members is required. Both the Investigator and the Extreme Recruiter would need to be capable of driving to homes of relatives in children in foster care. General Microsoft Office programs are also necessary. Genopro is utilized to compile genograms for each case. Each employee requires a dedicated work space with a computer, phone, cell phone, laptop that can be used in the field.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Extreme Recruiters should have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in Social Work or a related field as well as demonstrated experience working with interdisciplinary teams utilizing innovative strategies to overcome obstacles. Direct experience in child welfare field with a basic knowledge of foster care and adoption is necessary.

Investigators should have completed Police Academy training or have obtained an Associate's Degree in a related field. They should have law enforcement or related investigative experience and a history of demonstrated experience using a variety of investigative tools and interview techniques to locate and engage individuals. A basic knowledge of the child welfare system is desirable.

Supervisors are required to have a Master's degree in Social Work or a related field. They should have direct experience working in foster care and adoption, and a history of working with interdisciplinary teams.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:


Number of days/hours:

This is flexible based on the needs of the agency. Basic trainings are generally one business day and would cover an overview of the philosophies on which the program is based, how to implement the program, how to locate relatives of children in care, common barriers that are encountered when trying to implement the program, and a role play on how to start a new Extreme Recruitment case. Additional time is required for agencies planning to fully implement the Extreme Recruitment model and may take at least two business days with additional follow up and site visits.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Extreme Recruitment®.

Additional References

Eckholm, E. (2010). A determined quest to bring adoptive ties to foster teenagers, New York Times, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/us/31adopt.html?_r=1

Scheetz, M., & Flavin, G. (2015). The importance of rice pudding. CW360. Retrieved from http://cascw.umn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CW360-Winter2015.pdf

Sittenfeld, C. (2011). Foster care: Extreme edition, Time. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2040212,00.html

Contact Information

Amanda Denning, MSW
Title: Director of Extreme Recruitment
Agency/Affiliation: Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition
Website: www.foster-adopt.org/extremerecruitment
Phone: (314) 367-8373

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2024

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2012