• May 2015
  • Vol. 16, No. 4

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Evaluations of the Family Finding Model

The Family Finding model outlines a method for finding, engaging, and working with family members of children who are involved with child welfare in order to establish connections and improve legal and emotional permanency outcomes for children. Child Trends released a report that summarizes and assesses the results of 13 recent evaluations of Family Finding from the past 2 years. The report, Family Finding Evaluations: A Summary of Recent Findings, states that research on this model is inconclusive.

The report provides several possible explanations for the inconclusive results:

  • The model was not fully or consistently implemented.
  • The scope of the evaluations may have been sufficient to detect positive impacts, which may not be realized immediately.
  • The evaluations' hypotheses about the model's effects on children and families may not have been accurate (e.g., the model calls for workers to find at least 40 family members and engage with 6 of them, but perhaps focusing on finding a smaller number of "high-quality" connections may be more effective than a broader search).

The report can be found on the Child Trends website at http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2015-01Family_Finding_Eval_Summary.pdf (444 KB). The report's appendix is available at http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Family-Finding-Evaluations-Appendix.pdf (196 KB).

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