Using Family Finding Strategies to Support Permanency
The Department of Children and Families had received numerous abuse reports regarding the four Pérez children over the course of many years. In fact, the youngest had been removed from her parents four times in the five years since her birth. While DCF moved to terminate their parents’ rights, the children were referred to FFCR’s PRT Program. With no available relatives or foster families willing to care for the four siblings, the PRT team immediately engaged in Family Finding strategies to identify possible supportive adults and long-term caregivers. PRT staff consulted the Seneca Search Database and uncovered 40 + family and others currently or previously connected with the children’s parents. Staff then drafted and sent letters to the people on the list, revealing minimal information about the children, but notifying recipients of the fact they were in need of caregivers. An adult paternal uncle was one of three individuals who responded. Unaware that his relatives were in foster care, he immediately expressed the desire to be involved in their lives. The team arranged a preliminary background check and set up a meeting with the children.
To date, the parent’s rights have not been terminated, and the judge is requiring continued reunification efforts. However, thanks to the PRT Program’s Family Finding efforts, the Pérez siblings and their parents now have a supportive family member in their lives. If the children are reunified with their parents, such support will be essential to success. If the children are not reunified, they now have a relationship with a potential permanent relative caregiver. The PRT team will continue to support this relationship and will continue to help build a supportive network of healthy adult relationships for the benefit of both the children and the parents.