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July/August 2010Vol. 11, No. 6Family Connection Discretionary Grant Cluster

One of the key components of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351) was the creation of the Family Connection Grants Program. The purpose of these grants is to help children who are in, or at risk of entering, foster care to reconnect with family members. As demonstration projects, these grants are serving as testing grounds for new and unique approaches for family connection services and as sources of guidance and insight for States and localities seeking to implement similar programs.

In September 2009, the Children’s Bureau awarded grants to 24 public child welfare agencies and private nonprofit organizations across the United States. Family Connection grantees are implementing one or more of the following programs:

  • Kinship navigator (six grants): Assist formal and informal kinship caregivers to learn about, find, and use existing programs and services to meet their own needs and the needs of the children they are raising. These programs also promote effective partnerships between public agencies and private, community, and faith-based agencies to better serve the needs of kinship caregiver families.
  • Intensive family finding (four grants): Reconnect children in or at risk of entering foster care with family members through family-finding efforts. These programs use search technology, effective family engagement, and other means to locate biological family members and then seek to reestablish relationships and explore ways to establish a permanent family placement for the children.
  • Residential family treatment (five grants): Enable parents and their children to live in a safe environment for at least 6 months and receive substance abuse treatment services, children's early intervention services, family counseling, medical and mental health services, nursery and preschool, and other comprehensive treatment services that support families.
  • Family group decision-making (FGDM) (one grant): Engage families in making decisions and developing plans that nurture children and protect them from abuse and neglect. FGDM projects address any domestic violence issues that arise in a safe manner and facilitate connecting children exposed to domestic violence to appropriate services.

Eight grants were awarded to projects that are implementing two or more of these programs.

To assist the Family Connection grants, the Children’s Bureau has established two support mechanisms for the project. The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) provides programmatic technical assistance, and James Bell Associates provides evaluation technical assistance and is conducting a cross-site evaluation.

For a list of all awardees, including links to project abstracts, visit the NRCPFC website: