Evaluation of the New York City Home Rebuilders Demonstration. 2.3.3 New York Foundling

09/14/1998

New York Foundling summed up its philosophy by saying it was committed to permanency. Staff defined the difference between the experimental and control groups as the extent to which they sought to speed up permanency. According to the administrators, on average, the experimental group finalized goals earlier than the comparison group, in part because parents' rights in the experimental group on average were terminated earlier.

The program director, Luisa Doyle, discussed how the HomeRebuilders model changed the agency's philosophy on permanency. She believed that the intensified services offered during the first few months of placement were a critical component for reunification. The agency promoted the belief that no obstacle was too big to overcome, and it could help families overcome obstacles and care for their children. Also, intensive aftercare services were seen as a key factor. Aftercare could continue for 3 months to 2 years after reunification. In many cases, the goal of independent living was not affected by HomeRebuilders. However, in other cases, because of the change in philosophy, caseworkers reevaluated whether the goal of independent living was appropriate and instead began reexploring families as discharge resources.

The adoption process was given as much priority as reunification. Caseworkers began to complete the adoption process requirements (e.g., homestudy, subsidy, etc.) as soon as the case goal was changed to adoption. Prior to HomeRebuilders, the agency would begin this process after the child was freed for adoption. During HomeRebuilders, the agency did not allow long-term care for kinship families. If return to parent was not an appropriate goal, the agency promoted adoption. If the kinship family did not want to adopt, then the agency promoted discharge to the custody of kin. The agency also negotiated more conditional surrenders for adoption for these cases. Conditional surrenders allow parents to maintain certain rights such as continuing visitation. This change was conducive to the agency's philosophy in that it helped shorten the length of stay for children in foster care.

NEW YORK FOUNDLING

Sites:

  • Bronx
  • Queens

HomeRebuilders Model:
Agency made a commitment to permanency. Beginning adoption proceedings earlier and intensive case review viewed as critical components.

Major Changes Initiated During HomeRebuilders for Experimental Group Only:

  • Additional staff hired
  • Specialized flexible funds
  • Aftercare

HomeRebuilders Population:

  • Children under age 17, no minimum amount of time in care
  • Permanency goal: Return to home and adoption
  • Type of Placements used: Foster boarding home and approved relative's home
  • The Bronx Office was used as the treatment site

Agency-Wide Programs During HomeRebuilders:

  • Foster care and adoption
  • Day care
  • Independent living services for adolescents, individuals with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities
  • School-based services
  • Specialized foster care for teen parents
  • Specialized foster care for deaf children
  • Head Start

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