CHAMPS Policy Playbook

CHAMPS promotes policies that support quality foster parenting, keep children safe and healthy, and helps children heal, grow and thrive. The first edition of the CHAMPS policy playbook issued in October 2017. Building on the first playbook, CHAMPS issues a second edition of its policy playbook in January 2019. The playbook aims to inform and inspire decision makers on how to improve the lives of children by strengthening foster parenting policies. Also see our interactive online policy playbook Printed copies of the playbook are available by sending a request to 

CHAMPS Policy Goals 

CHAMPS provides one-page primers on each of the six policy goals featured in the CHAMPS playbook, which are (1) support relationships between foster and birth families (primer); (2) Implement data-driven recruitment and retention practices (primer); (3) engage foster parents in decision making (primer); (4) provide timely access to trusted, dedicated staff and peer support to foster parents (primer); (5) prioritize placements with relatives (primer); and (6) ensure timely access to physical and mental health services (primer). See here for an overview of CHAMPS Policy Solutions brief, and here for an infographic. 

Recruitment and Retention Guide

The CHAMPS Guide on Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention features specific strategies to help child welfare agencies achieve and sustain excellence in foster parenting. The guide is based on research, best practice and input from experts who attended a national convening in January 2019. The guide encourages agencies to go beyond a plan and focus on creating a comprehensive approach to recruiting and supporting families. See here for an infographic on recruitment and retention strategies. Read more about the guide in this blog post by CHAMPS co-chairs.

CHAMPS-Family First Act 

The Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First) brings sweeping reforms federal child welfare policy to strengthen families. See here for implementation resources from the Children’s Bureau and other organizations supporting implementation.  CHAMPS issued this one-page brief to describe alignment between CHAMPS and Family First in improving outcomes for children and families. See also this brief on ten ways that CHAMPS and Family First promote better outcomes for children.

CHAMPS Research Highlights

All aspects of the CHAMPS campaign leverage the vast body of research that shows that loving, supportive families – whether birth, kin, foster or adoptive – are critical to the healthy development of all children. In this document, we share highlights of research that underpin each of the six policy goals featured in the CHAMPS playbook. We also share this bibliography of research articles that show the vital importance of stable, quality foster parenting in the lives of children in foster care. These documents will be updated periodically.

CHAMPS Technical Assistance

Several trends are converging to make the need for quality foster parenting more urgent: rising numbers of children entering foster care, reports of foster parent shortages across the country, and Family First implementation. CHAMPS is available to provide technical support to child welfare agencies, legislators, and other stakeholders involved in policy or program improvements. See here for a general overview of CHAMPS technical assistance.

Foster Family Appreciation Toolkit

An easy first step towards making foster parenting a priority in your community is to celebrate and thank foster families for all they do.There are countless ways to recognize these amazing families in your community. Governors, legislators, agencies, businesses, civic and faith-based organizations and others can lead or take part. Get started today. See here for the CHAMPS Foster Family Appreciation Toolkit, which includes a foster family story bank and an online social media toolkit.

Why & How to Get Involved

There are many compelling reasons to get involved in CHAMPS: (1) Children do best in and need families. Foster parents are key to helping children in foster care heal, grow and thrive; (2)Too many good foster parents quit due to antiquated policies. This is costly and bad for kids; (3) There are solutions, including no- or low-cost solutions; and (4) Policy makers are looking to take action.  See here for steps that state legislators can take to champion reforms. Please visit the GET INVOLVED page of our website to learn more about action steps.  Like Us on Facebook.

About CHAMPS & Its Partners 

The CHAMPS campaign brings together research, policy solutions, and key stakeholders to educate decision makers and spur action on foster parenting policy solutions to drive better outcomes for children. Learn more about CHAMPS partners and the campaign’s news and events.  You can also visit our blog for commentary and information, such as this summary of state legislation that aligns with CHAMPS policy goals and features of past events.

Sign the Pledge

Sign the pledge to show your support for today’s amazing foster parents and the importance of quality foster parenting.

Get Involved

We invite you to get involved in CHAMPS and be part of building bright futures for kids in foster care.