Evaluation of Los Angeles County’s Upfront Family Finding Pilot
Nationally, child welfare agencies remove more than 250,000 children from their homes each year as the result of abuse or neglect, and more than 400,000 children and youth are in out-of-home care at any time. Over the past two decades, child welfare agencies have strived to identify and engage relatives with whom children can be placed or maintain close family connections during their time in foster care. Many agencies have implemented relative search and engagement interventions, often referred to as family finding.
Prior to the Upfront Family Finding (UFF) pilot, Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) focused its family finding efforts on children in care for long periods of time. With the UFF pilot, which started in October 2016, two local offices (Glendora and Santa Fe Springs) conducted family finding when children were first removed from their home, assigning cases to specialized workers who were part of the Permanency Partners Program (P3). P3 workers served children not initially placed with relatives, but the importance of family finding was emphasized to all staff in the pilot offices. The evaluation of the pilot sought to understand whether UFF resulted in more children placed with relatives, more stable relative placements, and more timely reunifications of children with their parents.