When children are in foster care, they often lose connections to relatives who may be willing to provide a permanent home or
emotional support – and finding that extended family can be difficult.
A national program approaches the challenge with techniques inspired by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations to reunite families separated by war or natural disasters. Called Family Finding, the program works to build secure, ongoing networks for youth.
Family Finding has had significant results elsewhere. To determine if the model could improve outcomes for foster care children in North Carolina, The Duke Endowment awarded a grant to support implementation and evaluation in nine counties. The N.C. Department of Social Services administered the project in six of those counties; Children’s Home Society of North Carolina administered it in three.
In 2011, the N.C. pilot’s rigorous evaluation helped Children’s Home Society win $6 million in funding from the New York-based Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and the federal government’s Social Innovation Fund. The grant, which will also include matching money from The Duke Endowment, will allow Family Finding to expand statewide and help more children form lifelong ties to caring adults.