Extreme Recruitment®

Extreme Recruitment® History

Silly as it may sound, Extreme Recruitment® was inspired by the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This program is an exciting race against time to build a house in just a week by coordinating hundreds of professionals and volunteers. Likewise, Extreme Recruitment® is a race to find a permanent home for a child in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

The program was founded in 2008 by Melanie Scheetz, the Executive Director of the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition. The program started small, only serving a handful of children initially.  With experience and success, the program grew.

Extreme Recruitment® Overview

maximus-foundation-grantee-website-badgeSo what is Extreme Recruitment®? Extreme Recruitment® is a race to find permanency for youth using 12-20 weeks of intensive recruitment efforts and permanency preparation.

Extreme Recruitment® works exclusively with the hardest-to-place children: ages 10-18, sibling groups, children of minority status, and youth with emotional, developmental, or behavioral concerns. Extreme Recruitment can be successful for any child in foster care because it:

  • Requires weekly, intensive meetings between the child’s professional team members for 12-20 weeks.
  • Focuses on preparing the youth for adoption, including their mental health and educational needs.
  • Exhausts all forms of adoption recruitment.

The added ingredient that makes Extreme Recruitment so effective is our private investigators. Originally, we tried to do the investigation work ourselves, but our contact rate with relatives was a dismal 23%. Within two weeks of hiring an investigator, the contact rate skyrocketed to 80%! Our investigators find relatives through internet tools, court databases, social media searches, and old-fashioned detective work.

Extreme Recruitment’s goal
  • Match 85% of youth with a network of safe, appropriate adults
  • Match 70% of youth with an adoptive family

Extreme Recruitment® Toolbox

Many of the tools we use are available online to help you fully understand the work being done through Extreme Recruitment®. Click here for downloadable forms.


Extreme Recruitment® has received attention from both local and national media. In 2011, it was even featured in TIME Magazine. For media inquiries, please contact Melanie Scheetz, Executive Director, at 800.FOSTER.3 (314.367.8373 x2221. Click here to learn more.

TO MAKE A REFERRAL: Please contact Gayle Flavin, Director of Programs at 314.367.8373 (800.FOSTER.3).