Reverse Matching/Enhanced Youth Recruitment
- Child Welfare Workers
Targeted Age Group(s)
QIC-EY Engagement Model Components (i) The engagement model components were identified through the QIC-EY Environmental Scan as critical to the support of youth engagement in the attainment of permanence.
- Engage Specialized Staff
- Prioritize Legal, Relational and Cultural Permanence
Reverse matching events are opportunities for empowerment for older youth in care. Participating youths review video profiles of families potentially willing to adopt. The youths then are invited to indicate whether they are interested in learning more about any of the featured families. This program is built around three goals:
- Find permanency for older youths in care who do not have permanent homes identified.
- Engage and empower youths in care to take active roles in the permanency planning process.
- Elevate youth voice in innovative ways to connect families potentially willing to adopt with youths who need permanency.
Youths may attend these events either virtually in a supportive group environment with other youths or in a more personalized, one-on-one setting. Regardless of whether they are participating in a group or a one-on-one reverse teen matching event, many youths choose to attend accompanied by a connected adult who is most often a caseworker, a parent who is fostering or a staff member in a group home. During any of these events, when a youth indicates interest in learning more about a featured family, that interest is tracked as an inquiry. Once an inquiry is made, the youth’s caseworker is connected with that family to explore the potential for placement.
Youth preparation before a reverse matching event and follow-up after it are equally as important as the facilitation and engagement that occur during the event. As with any good youth engagement strategy, youths are equipped best to succeed when given ample preparation and choice about their involvement. Similarly, follow-up with participants is key to ensure that youths understand that the work they have done to review families is valued, respected and receiving further attention.
The reverse matching event model requires the ability to identify and to create profiles of licensed families who are interested in adopting teens. Without an identified pool of families interested in older youth, organizations risk asking youths to participate in an event that does not feature families in whom the youths would be interested. Current best practice is to target twice as many featured families as youths who are participating.