Phoenix, AZ (August 5, 2021)
On the heels of an unexpected record-breaking year for foster parent leads, the Arizona Department of Child Safety has launched an improved orientation experience to boost lead conversion and support prospective foster parents in completing the foster licensure and adoption certification process.
The orientation site incorporates compelling videos, natural language, and a simplified user experience that guides visitors from one step to the next and customizes the path based on user input. For example, the landing page prompts users to choose one of two options: “I’ve made my decision and am interested in starting my journey to becoming a licensed foster parent today,” or “I’m interested, but just looking for more information before I jump in with both feet.”
“It’s so easy to get overloaded and overwhelmed with information,” said Mike Faust, director of DCS. “Our goal is to meet people where they are and give them exactly the info they need. The web experience should feel natural and intuitive.”
Users who indicate they are ready to begin their foster care journey are linked to an orientation landing page where they’re prompted to view an engaging, heartfelt video featuring first-person stories from Arizona’s foster and adoptive parents. Two children serve as the hosts of the video; their youth and enthusiasm bring a lighthearted and approachable mood to an otherwise difficult topic.
“There are so many details to share in these videos that you run the risk of being tedious and boring,” said Faust. “We had to figure out a way to make people smile and keep them engaged from beginning to end. The kid hosts did the trick. They touch people’s hearts in a way a normal government video simply cannot.”
Once users have watched the video, they’re prompted to move to the next step, which includes indicating their preferences and self-selecting criteria that meet their individual needs. A series of simple, natural language questions helps them match up with the right agency. In some cases, they’re matched with an agency that’s geographically convenient; in others, they match with agencies that specialize in LGBTQ-friendly, Christian-based, Spanish-speaking, or something else.
“This part of the orientation experience truly is innovative,” Faust said. “Many people inquire about foster care or adoption, but they get lost along the way or become frustrated with the process. They’re a lot more likely to complete the licensure or certification process if they’re matched with an agency from the beginning that can provide exactly the right support.”
Users who indicate they want more information before jumping in with both feet are treated to a different web experience. They are directed to educational content, heartwarming stories, and helpful resources like foster parent support groups, checklists, and other tools. This path is designed to nurture their interest until they’re ready to match with an agency.
“The need for foster parents is higher than ever,” Faust said. “We have to keep doing everything in our power to keep these children safe and provide them a healthy and happy future.”
There are more than 14,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system. DCS’ main goal is to place all children in a safe and loving family setting until they can safely go home to their parents. If children are unable to reunite with their parents, DCS works to connect them with loving, adoptive families.
To learn more about fostering a child, visit dcs.az.gov/foster.