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.

CHAMPS Policy Goals

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

Recruitment and Retention Guide

We are pleased to share a new CHAMPS Guide on Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention. The guide features specific strategies to help child welfare agencies achieve and sustain excellence in foster parenting. It’s 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. More about the guide and convening 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 focused on strengthen families, including birth, kin, foster and adoptive families. This one-page brief highlights common goals of CHAMPS and Family First and shows how the two present opportunities to significantly improve outcomes for children and families. See also this brief that highlights ten ways that CHAMPS and Family First promote better outcomes for children. See here for other Family First resources in our database.


CHAMPS Research Highlights

All aspects of 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 to learn about 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 new 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. You can be a resource. Please visit the “GET INVOLVED” section of our website to learn more about action steps. Get connected to CHAMPS today. 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.


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.