Formative Evaluation of Family Finding Final Report

Family Finding
Implementing Organization: 
Children's Home Society of North Carolina
Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

This report presents findings from an evaluation of enhancements made by the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina (CHS) to Family Finding (FF), a relative search and engagement model, designed to identify and engage family members to provide support and permanent homes for children in foster care. CHS revised the six-step FF model by offering three increasingly intensive tiers of services. Given the substantial revisions to the model, and as a precursor to a second rigorous evaluation, Child Trends and CHS (together with funding partners) proposed a formative evaluation to assess the overall referral process (of children to FF) and the degree to which the different tiers of FF were implemented with fidelity.

Key findings:

  • CHS implemented the new tiered FF program in a purposeful and supportive manner.

  • Earlier model components (i.e., those implemented previously under the original FF model) were implemented with overall greater fidelity than the later components (i.e., the newly added FF activities, such as child and family preparation).

  • Overall, compared with children served during the previous evaluation, children served by CHS during this study period (receiving Tiers 2 and 3) experienced better permanency and placement.

  • In general, when FF services were implemented with greater fidelity, children experienced better outcomes. This finding, too, should be interpreted with caution as it represents an association between fidelity and outcomes, not a causal relationship.

CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Study Type(s): 
Study Design(s): 
Level of Evidence: 
Child Trends
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
December 19, 2016
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