Family Focus Adoption Services
New York—Family Focus Adoption Services
With funding contracted from a child's foster care agency, Family Focus Adoption Services recruits and trains foster families and then approaches foster care agencies with its studies. If an agency chooses of their families, the foster children visit the family without committing themselves to permanent placement in advance. Either the child or the family can stop visiting at any time. Each child and each family has their own advocate who watches for rough spots and models how to solve problems. The transition period ends when both family and child state they are ready to become a permanent family.
Strategies. Committed advocates for both the child and the family. Neither children nor families are rushed to make a commitment. A twelve-step process of visiting with the child making the first move toward permanency. Youth involvement in every step of the process and mediated problem solving.
Outcomes. 136 children over 10 years old have been placed since 1988. 750 placements in 17 years of work. Only 3% disruption rate in the transition cases that have used the process described above.
Lessons Learned. This process, used by this agency from the beginning is modeled on the same visiting model institutions use—go slowly, with no commitment up front. Children visit with families approximately one month for every year they have lived as insurance that the child truly wants this family as their permanent home.
More Information on Model Programs for Youth Permanency
Read more about this and other model programs for youth permanency in Model Programs for Youth Permanency (PDF - 236 KB) by M.J. Louisell, from the California Partnership for Youth Project.