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Family Finding Program
FSA NEPA, with the support of Luzerne County Children & Youth Services has implemented a process known as Family Finding (FF).
FF is a practice that recognizes the role of families and their traditional power to best understand how to care for its members by utilizing community support resources & service providers to collaboratively plan for permanent family connectedness. It respectfully offers families the opportunity to come together as the best possible people to make decisions on keeping their children safe.
FSA NEPA will assist LCC&Y in the stabilization of children served by the Family Finding Program by seeking connections with relatives and exploring such relatives as placement options for children who are unable to live with their legal/biological parents. It is recognized that that relative connections are a major stabilizing factor and are preferable placement options for children.
To enhance the quality of life for children by fostering permanent family connections. As children gain permanence, clinical behaviors improve, ultimately helping the child stabilize and reducing placement disruptions.
The Four Goals of FF:
To reduce entry, lengths of stay, and placement changes in foster care
To decrease disconnectedness and isolation for children
To increase placement stabilization
To increase assistance to families to meet the child's needs
There are 5 stages to Family Finding:
Initial Referral/Discovery: The FF Coordinator will use all tools available, including interview and assessment, Mobility Mapping and Life Connections Mapping to find family and connections for identified youth. It is estimated that this step will take no longer than 2 weeks
Engagement: The FFS Coordinator will engage those who know the child best and have historic and/or inherent connection in helping the child by sharing information. In practice, the FF Coordinator will use an individualized engagement strategy to enlist the support of the many family members and others important to the child identified in the Discovery Stage. The FF Coordinator will then begin preparing the family members and others to assist with decision-making and participate in supporting the young person through committed relationship. It is estimated that this step should take no longer than three weeks
Planning: The FF Coordinator identifies blended perspectives meeting participants from among immediate and extended family, important non-related persons in the child's life, the child, parents, and involved service providers (all of the above entities are known as the team). The FFS Coordinator invites the identified participants to join a Blended Perspectives Meeting, where all participants will have a voice. The child's unmet needs will be defined, as well as the child's strengths. It is in this meeting that challenges and solutions will be identified to ensure that an enduring network of support is created. It is estimated that this step should take approximately 2-3 weeks to complete. Most blended perspective meetings will result in a Family Group Decision Making Conference
Evaluation: This step is taken within one week of the FGDM meeting and is continued throughout the case process. The goal of this step is to ensure that an inclusive, individualized, and unconditional plan to achieve legal and emotional permanency has been created with a timeline for completion
Follow up on Supports: The FF Coordinator will ensure that the current plan functions well. The child's unmet need has been met. Also, the FF Coordinator will ensure that the referring agency, court, and team are satisfied with the child's and family's current state as well as the family's ability to maintain the state. The FFSCoordinator will provide case management service to support the child or young person and their family to plan for and access essential formal and informal support
For more information, please contact:
Rose Gallagher Ostrosky - Program Director at 570-823-5144, ext. 347
Jean Kizis & Mary Cozzi - Family Finding Coordinators at 570-823-7898