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. In the brief, 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. The analysis has identified some key differences in the implementation of family finding across the two approaches. The most notable difference in implementing family finding with different target populations is the program’s overall approach. For cases that are new to out-of-home care, the focus is expanded beyond the child, and is intended to build a supportive network to strengthen reunification efforts in addition to bridging connections between children and their family members.
Future results from Child Trend’s evaluation, including additional findings from the field work and findings on the impact of family finding, will provide a useful framework for agencies as they determine how best to implement these programs.