Knowledge Base

What is a family-based care model?

What is a family-based care model?

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A family-based care or ‘family care’ model focuses on placing children into biological, foster, or adoptive families, while working to strengthen them as a family to prevent separation. All of these strengthening services are aimed at supporting the family with the resources and opportunities that they need to continue to stay together.

Understanding family-based care

    Gatekeeping refers to the decision-making process of determining the best placement for the child. It prioritizes keeping the family together while assessing the child and family on different factors. Effective gatekeeping prevents family separation by ensuring that children do not enter residential care settings unnecessarily.
    Every child and family are unique. For some children, reintegration to biological families is possible and for others it might not be. If a biological parent is unable to be the primary caregiver, there are almost always other family members that can be considered to take over care. The continuum of care shows that when reintegration back to the family of origin isn’t possible, we can consider extended family, sometimes known as kinship care.
    When there isn’t immediate biological family able and willing to take over care, we can explore foster care, and adoption.

Placement considerations

    Permanency strives to create and establish placements that can provide lifetime commitment to care. Continuity of care and the belonging that comes with living in a family long-term is necessary for the children in our care to experience healthy relationship, development, and the emotional security they need to heal and maintain healthy relationships for their future.
    Organizations can often overlook the value of meaningful connection to society and culture. In many collective cultures, an individual’s identity comes from their family, community, or tribe. Without that connection to community, children may experience a loss of identity and belonging. One of the most important aspects of placement is ensuring that this child will feel as though they belong where they are.

Additional Resources

    ‘Rethinking Orphan Care’ is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about family-based care and the reform we are seeing globally. You can access that resource here.