• May 2010
  • Vol. 11, No. 4

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Evaluating the Family to Family Initiative

Family to Family began in 1992 as a systems change initiative to create more family-centered, neighborhood-based foster care services. Over the years, States and communities involved with Family to Family have achieved many positive outcomes, such as increasing the number of family foster care homes, reducing the number of placements in institutional settings, and reducing the overall number of children in care. In order to build upon those successes, the Annie E. Casey Foundation spent the last 3 years focusing on 15 anchor sites (in 5 California counties and 10 other States or communities) to further improve the Family to Family initiative and to evaluate its impact at both the child and system levels.

A recent report from the Foundation details the phases of Family to Family since its inception and examines the anchor sites' implementation of four core strategies:

  • Building community partnerships
  • Team decision-making
  • Resource family recruitment, development, and support
  • Self-evaluation

Because previous evaluations found that communities experience the greatest outcomes when all four strategies are fully implemented and functioning together, the Foundation focused its recent efforts on providing technical assistance to the 15 anchor sites in order to improve their development and integration of the core strategies. The evaluation report examines the sites' implementation efforts as well as child and family outcomes related to safety, permanency, family and community connections, and quality of care.

The anchor sites also identified several agency factors that impacted the implementation of Family to Family, such as strong and consistent leadership, the substantial realignment of staff resources, and broad participation by managers, staff, and community partners. The report includes several lessons learned and recommendations for the Family to Family initiative.

The full report, Evaluation of the Anchor-Site Phase of Family to Family, by Lynn Usher, Judith Wildfire, Daniel Webster, and David Crampton, is available on the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:


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