Family Find program helps foster children connect
with extended family members
Family Find is a partnership project working to help youth in foster care find and connect with extended family members who may be positive resources in their lives. The goal of this project is not finding placement resources, but to assist youth in learning more about their families and having healthy connections with family members, where there is an interest. Ideally Family Find results in permanent, caring relationships for the youth who otherwise would not have a permanent family, by helping adults make realistic decisions on how to be involved in the youth’s life. Interested family members are invited to get to know the youth in foster care and to help determine what kinds of emotional, physical, and family connective support the youth needs. Each family member determines the degree of participation they are willing to commit to the youth, if any.
It has been shown that youth who have a strong family support system have much greater success in transitioning into adulthood. This program goes beyond the DHS relative search to actively search, engage and involve family. When children grow up in a community surrounded by family they have the ability to access many resources in the most normative setting. When youth become isolated from family and natural supports, they lose access to the very people that could support them throughout crises and help them grow up through young adulthood. Love and acceptance through extended family relationships is often the unmet need of children or youth in foster care and is the most single identified variable which contributes to positive outcomes for youth.