As a shortage of foster parents continues across the United States, foster care agencies are recruiting new foster parents through social media and the internet, including, to some people’s surprise, Craigslist.
“People on Craigslist go on there for all sorts of different things,” said Jennifer Horrocks, foster parent recruiter for SafeGuards Foster Care in Reading, Pennsylvania. “These are your everyday people that are looking to make a difference and don’t really know where to start.”
Horrocks said it can be hard to recruit foster parents because of the many misconceptions about who qualifies to be a foster parent. SafeGuards specifically deals with teens in foster care — an added challenge when recruiting foster parents.
But Horrocks said that she has found the Craigslist ads to be successful and has found multiple families through that digital avenue. Although not everyone who contacts her becomes a foster parent, it’s important to simply get people to take the first step of calling or emailing her who might not have otherwise, she said.
“I find I get a wide variety of people that respond to my ad,” she said.
But should people be job searching, shopping for used furniture and recruiting for foster care, all on the same website? Many foster care advocates say no.