Every child wants a loving home. Unfortunately, many children in foster care experience multiple placements, often leaving the children feeling abandoned and desperate for family connections. In the process of moving, children often lose all connection with their biological families, even with healthy, safe relatives.
The Family Search and Engagement/Family Finding (FSE) program of Uplift Family Services helps reconnect children with safe, healthy families and speed their recovery from emotional trauma. Using internet search technology, we are able to find biological family members for children in the system. Once we have identified family members, we work to reestablish relationships and explore ways to find a permanent family placement for the child.
The Family Search and Engagement/Family Finding (FSE) program is offered statewide.
There are many benefits when a child establishes family connections:
- Children experience permanent, loving, and stable kin relationships.
- Children avoid the disruption, chaos, and rejection that result from multiple placements.
- Children avoid the trauma and emotional pain that may occur from being separated from their families.
- The average time to place a child using FSE strategies is about 6 months to a year, compared to years of multiple placements in the child welfare system.
- Additionally, there are thousands of dollars saved. When compared to group home care, the one-time costs of FSE are much lower.
Prior to implementing the Family Search and Engagement/Family Finding (FSE) program at Uplift Family Services in September 2003, only 37% of youth who were not living with family at entry to our 24/7 Intensive Family Services program were discharged to families.
By implementing FSE services for our 24/7 program, we expect that:
- 70% of the children in our 24/7 care program at the beginning of treatment will be reunited with families at the end of treatment.
- 90% of the children in 24/7 care at the beginning of treatment will establish family connections by the end of treatment.
You can help a child in foster care connect to family members by making a donation. Consider that:
- $25 pays for an internet search to find safe, healthy family members for a foster child.
- $500 pays for a plane ticket so that a foster child can visit those family members.
You can make a donation online here.
Family Search and Engagement/Family Finding (FSE) programs are cropping up at agencies across the country. You can look for one in your state.