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Keeping it in the Family: The Impact of a Family Finding Intervention on Placement, Permanency, and Well-Being Outcomes

NCJ Number
Children and Youth Services Review Volume: 70 Dated: 2016 Pages: 163-70
Date Published
8 pages

The authors of this paper report on their evaluation of a front-end Family Finding intervention; they describe the study methodology and outcomes, and suggest that support for Family Finding appears modest and more work should be done to improve the intervention.


Child-centered recruitment via Family Finding has gained national attention as an approach to search, discover, and engage kin and fictive kin to support the attachment and permanency needs of children in foster care. However, despite its promise it has received scant attention in the empirical literature. The current study compared the outcomes of a front-end Family Finding intervention (n = 196) and a comparison group (n = 262) among children in foster care in Cook County, Illinois, between the ages of six and 13. Results showed that there were no differences between the intervention and comparison group on reunification rates, placement stability, or on longitudinal externalizing behavior and internalizing symptoms. However, the intervention found close to 75 percent more relatives than the control group, and many of these relatives were significant figures in the children's lives. The intervention was also associated with a higher proportion of relative placements to total placements for a subgroup of children with five or more placements. Further, the effect of the intervention on this proportion (relative placements to total placements) was mediated by the greater number of relatives found in the intervention. Finally, the intervention was associated with relatively better Concurrent Planning. These results suggest that Family Finding has the potential to impact proximal outcomes related to discovery, engagement and planning but is currently not impacting more distal outcomes such as permanency and well-being. Family Finding approaches should continue to innovate, possibly through integration with psychosocial interventions, to affect more distal variables such as well-being outcomes. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2016