Tuesday, October 18, 2011
October 18, 2011
Connecting Children in Foster Care to Supportive Adults
Placing a child into foster care often disrupts family connections. Children may be separated from siblings and lose touch with extended family members. In 1999, an innovative approach known as "Family Finding" was developed to help children connect with family members and help child welfare professionals develop better plans by engaging relatives. Child Trends has released a new research brief, Family Finding: Does Implementation Differ When Serving Different Child Welfare Populations?, which presents preliminary findings from evaluations of family finding.
Family finding utilizes techniques for identifying and engaging family members and other adults who care about a child in foster care. In addition, family finding provides strategies for involving these adults in developing and carrying out a plan for helping children achieve emotional and legal permanency.
Although family finding was initially developed as a tool for helping youth in foster care for long periods of time reconnect with family members, increasingly, agencies are pursuing its use for children entering foster care.
In this brief, Child Trends researchers evaluate two family finding approaches - one with a focus on children "new to out-of-home care" and the other focusing on children who have been "lingering" in foster care. Child welfare agencies implementing - or planning to implement - family finding should examine the implications of serving differing target populations and their capacity to support the different approaches. Four key issues were identified which agencies may want to consider in implementing family finding. The full brief can be found here.
This brief is the first in a series summarizing findings from Child Trends' evaluations of family finding. The remaining briefs will be released later this year. Additional evaluation results related to family finding's impact on children's permanency outcomes will be released late next year.
Please read our latest post,
A Look at 'Communities that Care' and Evidence-Based Programs
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