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May 2018Vol. 19, No. 430 Days to Family Theory of Change Evaluation Report

In March 2011, the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition launched 30 Days to Family, an intense, short-term intervention that centers on two main elements: family finding and family support. Family finding involves immediate and intensive searches for and engagement with family members, and family support entails assessment of the child and family's needs and identification of community resources, as well as removing barriers to kinship placement.

The technical report 30 Days to Family Theory of Change Testing Comprehensive Report describes an evaluation of the intervention, which consisted of the following four substudies:

  • An implementation study that examined the program's implementation fidelity and context
  • An analysis of child welfare administrative data for all children placed in foster care who participated in 30 Days to Family compared with those who did not
  • A substudy based on interviews with relative (including kin) caregivers and nonrelative caregivers who cared for children who were served and who were not served by the program
  • A cost analysis that compared the costs associated with the 30 Days to Family program with the "as usual" models of service, as well as the cost savings related to fewer days in foster care, greater placement stability, reduced placement in treatment facilities, and reduced likelihood of reentry

The evaluation's key findings include the following:

  • The implementation study found that the program model, its components, and intended outcomes were well-defined and that the implementation procedures were relayed in a clear and detailed manner.
  • Case managers and supervisors who were interviewed or participated in focus groups spoke favorably about the program in general, its operation, and the benefits derived by the children and families involved in the intervention.
  • Children in the program, particularly those aged 9 or older, were more likely to leave foster care to be reunified with their birth families than those not in the program.
  • Based on caregiver interviews, children participating in 30 Days to Family were more likely than children not in the program to be involved in social activities, such as school-related extracurricular activities, sports, or faith-based activities, and to maintain contact with their birth mothers and fathers. 
  • Children who participated in 30 Days to Family spent about 91.4 fewer days in foster care than children not in the program, which yielded a cost savings of $10,271.61 per child per year.

The 30 Days to Family program has shown promising outcomes for children entering foster care, and this report underscores the benefits they receive from being in the care of relatives, spending less time in foster care, and achieving timely permanent placements.

30 Days to Family Theory of Change Testing Comprehensive Report is available at (3,820 KB).