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ERIC Number: ED558557
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Family Finding Evaluations: A Summary of Recent Findings. Publication #2015-01
Vandivere, Sharon; Malm, Karin
Child Trends
One factor that may facilitate a successful reunification of children in foster care with their parents--or failing that, provide an alternate route to permanency through adoption or guardianship--is children's connections with extended family. However, because foster care frequently disrupts social connections, practitioners may need to take extra steps to help children maintain or reestablish these connections. The Family Finding model provides child welfare practitioners with intensive search and engagement techniques to identify family members and other adults close to a child in foster care, and to involve these adults in developing and carrying out a plan for the emotional and legal permanency of the child. This report reviews the results from 13 evaluations of Family Finding. Key findings from the experimental studies--which provide stronger evidence about program effectiveness than do the non-experimental studies--include the following: (1) Three evaluations identified a positive impact on legal permanency. The only study to examine impacts on emotional permanency also identified a positive impact. (2) The studies also examined impacts on outcomes that might precede permanency, such as foster care placement stability and case plan goals. However, the great variation in the outcomes examined and how they were defined prevent drawing over-arching conclusions about Family Finding's effects on proximal outcomes. Twelve of the studies examined factors that might have hindered or facilitated program success. Findings from these process studies are particularly valuable, given the inconsistent impacts observed in the experimental studies. Despite the fact that Family Finding generally did serve the targeted populations and succeeded in identifying relatives and kin, the studies indicate that the Family Finding model was not completely or consistently implemented in many sites. Factors that prevented program success, according to the evaluations, include: (1) lack of stakeholder buy-in; (2) negative organizational or worker attitudes or culture regarding children's families of origin or the importance of permanency; (3) difficult relationships between the Family Finding agency and the public agency; (4) insufficient communication and collaboration across the range of stakeholders; and (5) capacity issues, such as caseload size or length of time a case was served. The following tables are appended: (1) Experimental Evaluations of Family Finding; and (2) Non-Experimental Evaluations of Family Finding. [For "Family Finding Evaluations: A Summary of Recent Findings--Appendix. Publication #2015-01A," see ED558559.]
Child Trends. 7315 Wisconsin Avenue Suite 1200W, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 240-223-9200; Fax: 240-200-1238; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Duke Endowment; Stuart Foundation; Administration for Children and Families (DHHS); Children's Home Society of North Carolina (CHS)
Authoring Institution: Child Trends
Identifiers - Location: California; Florida; Hawaii; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; North Carolina; Oklahoma; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Washington; Wisconsin