Butterflies in flight

California Department of Social Services and UC Davis Partner to Launch Center for Excellence in Family Finding, Engagement and Support

Youth in California’s foster care system will soon have a new statewide resource to help keep them connected to family – one of the goals of California’s foster care system.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) are launching the Center for Excellence in Family Finding, Engagement and Support (Center) to support county child welfare agency efforts to keep youth linked with their family members. The Center, based in Sacramento, will provide statewide culturally appropriate training and technical assistance to county child welfare and probation departments, and foster care providers to enhance their practices, policies, and efforts for family finding, support, and engagement. In addition, the Center will be providing dedicated and specialized efforts for family finding, engagement and support to promote the stability and security of Indian children and families in partnership with Tribes to support the best interest of the child.

On October 24, 2022, CDSS hosted a stakeholder webinar about the Center. Participants provided valuable feedback and were encouraged to complete a survey to help us learn more about how the Center can meet the needs of California’s child welfare community. The survey will be open to the public until November 7, 2022.  Also, the CDSS will be reaching out, through Tribal Consultation on December 9, 2022, to federally recognized Tribes in California to support the procedures for program participation in the creation of the Center to meet the needs of Indian children and families. 

Additionally, please consider submitting an application to become a founding member of the Center’s Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will include individuals with lived expertise. We seek diverse representation from a wide variety of organizations and regions within California. Applicants must have a dedicated commitment to ensuring youth are connected to their families, communities, and Tribes by promoting a kin-first and family-centered culture. Applications are due on November 14, 2022, by 5pm.

This work stems from Governor Newsom’s recent signing of Assembly Bill 207, which allocated $150 million in one-time funding for specialized work to counties, probation officers, and participating Tribes to find permanent placements for children and youth in foster care, including culturally responsive, family-centered, and trauma-informed family finding, support, and engagement services.

Here at UC Davis, we are excited to partner with CDSS on this effort, which we hope will transform the lives of youth and families across our state. This effort also builds on continued CDSS efforts to support family finding and engagement, including the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), which has resulted in more children being cared for by their own relatives, and extended family members in the case of an Indian child. For additional details on the success of CCR, please see the following March 2022 Issue Brief.

Thank you for your continued partnership and hard work to improve the lives of California youth and families. For additional information about the Center, please contact UC Davis at: ResourceCenter@ucdavis.edu.

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