The practice and philosophy of Family Finding embodies a strengths-based, family-centered, child-focused and culturally sensitive approach to working with families in the child welfare system. ASCI Family Finding’s primary focus is to engage the child/youth to identify their support/network of life connections. At various points, Family Finding applies the process and offers methods and tools for the child/youth and related professionals to continue with the efforts of locating, engaging and empowering the family to support their own relatives and kin through this difficult time of need.
Specifically, ASCI provides services throughout the referral and Family Finding process.
Referrals and Acceptance:
ASCI works with the Delaware County Family Engagement Specialist to determine appropriate referrals for Family Finding. This is a participative process where the youth/family is given the opportunity to understand what Family Finding is and how they will be involved. Potential referrals will be considered for reasons including but not limited to: identifying networks/lifelong connections for the youth/child; reconnecting with birth parents or family; placement prevention; older youth permanency; placement disruption; visitation resource; etc. ASCI completes the Family Finding process within six to eight weeks of receiving the referral.
The following are the various steps and processes the ASCI Family Finding worker utilizes:
- The ASCI Family Finder attempts to identify at least 40 family members for the child/youth. The Family Finder includes efforts to identify other adults who can or have in the past been key supporters of the child or parents.
- Data mining is planned and conducted with CYS specialist/caseworker.
- ASCI utilizes tools such as Accurint searches, Facebook, pop-ups, letters and other forms of social media.
- A weekly update and monthly report are generated and submitted to the CYS specialist and caseworkers related to the case.
- ASCI Family Finder engages identified family/kin who know the child best and have a historic and/or inherent connection in helping the child through information sharing.
- Family Finder prepares the family members identified for specific ways they can support the young person through establishment of committed relationships.
- The ASCI Family Finder works with the CYS specialist and social work team to ensure timely decisions are made to establish permanent life connections for the youth.
- A Blended Perspectives Synopsis is conducted upon conclusion of a Blended Perspectives Meeting.
- Should Children and Youth Services and the family decide Family Group Decision-Making is needed following Family Finding, the goals and objectives of Family Finding are incorporated into the FGDM, which is scheduled no later than two weeks after the BPM.
- ASCI consults with the CYS specialist and caseworkers to discuss any barriers and keep up to date on any/all immediate concerns or needs throughout the planning process.
- The ASCI Family Finder works with the CYS specialist and social work team to ensure that timely decisions are made and to provide the youth with appropriate levels of affection and expectations throughout this enduring time.
- The Family Finder is prepared to make key informed decisions, taking into consideration the youth’s safety, physical and emotional well-being and belonging in a lifetime family connection.
5. Evaluation & Follow-up:
- The ASCI Family Finder assists in creating and establishing an inclusive, individualized plan to achieve permanency for the young person with specific stipulated timelines for completion.
- The ASCI Family Finder schedules a follow-up 30-45 days post-BPM, focusing on supports identified in the Blended Perspectives or FGDM meeting.
- The Family Finder also completes a six-month follow-up for all family cases that successfully completed an FGDM conference.
- A written report of this follow-up summary is sent out to the CYS specialist and social work team within five business days of completion.