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Family Connections

The plight of New York State's (NYS) children who remain far too long in foster care or represent the "aging out" population became a key issue demanding better solutions as part of the Child and Family Service Review. NYS OCFS contracted with Kevin Campbell to present to NYS on Family Finding and how it could help us with these long-staying children and youth. Kevin came to recognize that the profound loneliness and hopelessness these children faced as something that could only be resolved by reconnecting them with family members they have lost. No amount of additional services or supports could take the place of the family where the child has their roots. To shorten lengths of stay, connect youth who are disconnected, and support youth returning to their community, parents and extended family must be found and involved. Believing he could find solutions for these drifting young people through finding their family, Kevin founded The Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness. He called this model Family Finding, and he has committed himself to finding, for each isolated, disconnected child, a minimum of 40 family members. At first it seemed an unlikely goal, especially for children and youth estranged from all family members for any period of time. Kevin’s theory was that these families were likely not asked to help when the youth first came to the attention of the system, or if they were involved, were discouraged from staying involved over time. But he believed they would be there, and if effectively engaged, could be involved again.