âSo, when you donât have the privilege of having a familyâ¦youth askâ¦âWho is going to buy my birthday card this year?Â Who is going to remember me?â Â Â Â Â Â Â Former Youth in Care
Â “I was adopted when I was 12 years oldâ¦I know for sure my adoptive mother, sister and extended family have my back, and no matter what happens in life, I have a safety net.”Â Â Â Â Ashley, Adopted
Â The Issue
Family & Childrenâs Services of Guelph and Wellington County (F&CS) is responsible to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth.Â Ensuring safety and well-being also involves ensuring that children experience stability and are cared for in homes by adults who love them.Â All too often, when children must come into the care of a child welfare organization, they experience multiple placements and significant instability and leave agency care far too early when Ministry funding support ends.Â Â Outcomes for youth from the child welfare system have indicated that:
- Some do not graduate high school
- Few go on to post-secondary education
- Many experience homelessness, poverty, mental healthÂ issues and incarceration due to a lack of support and belonging.
Â When children and youth have forever families to live with who love them and care about them, they have the greatest chance of being all they were meant to be.
All children need their own family â regardless of age, whether theyâre on their own, with siblings or have complex life challenges.Â When children and youth are cared for in families where they feel loved and connected, research indicates they have a much better chance of graduating from high school, going on to post-secondary education or fulfilling employment, and remaining connected to adults who care for them.Â A collaborative initiative with Until the Last Child is working to find permanent families for children and youth in care by implementing new strategies and an infusion of time limited resources to increase capacity and change culture.
What is Family Finding?
- Family Finding is a model that focuses on locating family members who have been disconnected from one another.
- It is used with chidren in care to locate family members who can establish life long connections for children & youth needing permanence.
- Family Finding is also used to locate family members who can support parents in ensuring the long term safety, well being and permanence for their children.
WhatÂ are the benefit of Family Finding?
- every child has a right to know about their family.
- Children in foster care often experience feelings of loneliness and feel disconnected from any family.
- It focuses on restoring well-being.
- It is very consistent with the Signs of Safety philosophy.
- Research shows that those youth leaving foster care with a network of supportive connections around them, will do better in life than those without.
- Research shows that children who live with kin are more successful than those raised in foster or group care.
What are the goals of Family Finding?
- Identify and contact family members.Â It may also involve searching for family.
- Bring functional family members together to develop lifetime networks of support for the child/youth.
- Empower families to develop permanent plans for their children.
“All a child needs is the love of a parent and stability.”Â Â Â Â Â Youth in Care