Recruitment and Retention Action Plan

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Read about how to develop each part of a plan, then scroll down to see a sample plan at the end.

Identify "big picture" aims

Each aim should address a need identified by data collection and analysis. It should be a general statement, and yet specific enough to be achievable within a reasonable period of time. Action Plans typically have three to five aims.

Develop specific objectives

Specific objectives should be practical, reachable goals that are measurable. In this case, the team will be able to determine whether the objective was reached completely or partially during a 12-month period.

Propose strategies that are likely to lead to achievement of the objective

Research multiple options. Best practice suggests that you use evidenced-informed strategies. Is there a new tool or technology that can be helpful with your current aim?

Revisit past ideas as possibilities. What have you learned as part of your overall experience in the field?

Build on existing information, knowledge, and momentum such as:

  • Your agency's mission, core values, and practices for children and families
  • Relevant agency-wide efforts (e.g., practice model, special initiatives)
  • Prior successes and lessons learned, including insights from Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs)
  • Existing partnerships and community relationships
  • Any current requirements related to recruitment, development, or support of families
Determine the specific tasks required

Tasks are the "actions" of the Action Plan. Tasks define the actual work that will be done in order to accomplish the larger objectives and aims. Tasks should be as specific as possible.

Who, what, and when?

Decide who will execute each task. To encourage buy-in, all relevant team members should be involved in carrying out different parts of the plan.

Timelines help to move the work forward. As each task is added, include a realistic timeline for the completion of that specific task. The timeline is an estimate, and this information can be shifted as needed, but the Action Plan should capture the intended completion date of each task.


Document results or progress towards major objectives of the plan.

Action Plan Example


Have a pool of foster/adoptive homes that is sufficient to meet the demand for homes that will care for sibling groups.


Add ten certified foster homes for large sibling groups within the next 12 months.


Engage current foster parents of sibling groups in targeted recruitment and retention efforts.

Task Who? When? Outcomes
Sign up five foster parents to host information sessions in their homes. Home Finder 3/15, 4/1, 4/25, 5/1, 5/5 TBD
Enlist the foster parent of a sibling group to speak at the next foster parent recognition event. Unit Supervisor 5/5 TBD

This project is funded by the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under a Cooperative Agreement, Grant Number 90CO-1109. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

Children's Bureau
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Welfare Research, Inc.