Extreme Recruitment®


Drawing inspiration from the fast-paced television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the innovative concept of Extreme Recruitment® was born. Just like the race against time to build a house in a week, Extreme Recruitment® is a determined sprint to secure a permanent home for a child in a fraction of the conventional time.

Launched in 2008 by Melanie Scheetz, the Executive Director of the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, Extreme Recruitment® began as a small initiative, focusing on a handful of children. With growing experience and remarkable success, the program expanded its reach and impact.

Program Overview

Extreme Recruitment® works diligently to find permanency for children labeled hardest to place by using 12-20 weeks of intensive recruitment efforts and permanency preparation. Children labeled hardest to place are often older youth, sibling groups or children with unique physical or mental needs.

Employing a diverse array of recruitment methods, including internet searches, court databases, social media, and good old-fashioned detective work, Extreme Recruitment® works tirelessly to match children with prospective caregivers. We reach a national audience, utilizing different adoption platforms to connect children with those who can provide them with a loving and nurturing home.

In the lead-up to permanency, we ensure that prospective caregivers are fully supported for a smooth transition. Our team of specialists conducts assessments for the child(ren), addressing areas like mental wellness, physical health, relationships, and education. Simultaneously, we reconnect children with relatives, organizing fun excursions and facilitating phone calls to strengthen these crucial connections.


  • Child must reside in St. Louis City or the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, or Warren.
  • Child must be in foster care.
  • Our focus is on children aged 10 or older, with exceptions made for those meeting specific criteria:
    • Part of a sibling group being served.
    • Documented elevated medical or mental health needs.
    • Legally free for adoption for six months with no identified permanent resource.
  • Eligibility conditions for parents include:
    • Must be licensed to foster and adopt or be a relative.
    • Must be able to pass child abuse/neglect and criminal background screenings.
    • Must meet the minimum age requirement of 21 years or above.
    • Must be able to meet the unique needs of the child.

What to Expect

At the beginning of the process, Extreme Recruitment® prioritizes establishing a meaningful connection with each child. Our program specialists initiate vital bonds through empathetic engagement. Regular meetings with the child(ren) and their team of professionals help the assigned Extreme Recruitment® specialist construct a trauma timeline that details the child’s life experiences and needs. This invaluable tool is then shared with prospective caregivers to inform them about the child’s journey. Exhausting all adoption recruitment strategies, we often identify around 80 relatives/kin to consider as potential placements.

Upon identifying suitable placement options, we ensure the match is viable through ongoing monitoring meetings. Our assigned specialists refer support services to meet the child’s needs, providing resources to prospective families throughout the adoption or fostering process.

Program Goals

Every child deserves a permanent, nurturing home that fosters growth and relationships. The core mission of Extreme Recruitment® is to secure stable and secure placement options that genuinely cater to their needs. Throughout this process, we focus on the child’s healing journey, connecting them with necessary supports. Our goal is to create resilient families.

Extreme Recruitment® fills a critical void in our community. Without our dedicated efforts, many children labeled hardest to place might never experience the joy of finding their forever families. Through the synergy of Extreme Recruitment®, children find hope, caregivers find purpose, and the community grows stronger.


Amanda Denning – Director of Extreme Recruitment®
1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144

o 314.367.8373
e amandadenning@foster-adopt.org

Extreme Recruitment® Inquiry Form