30 Days to Family®: FAQ

We’re always ready to chat! Reach out to Patrick Pisani at [email protected] if you can’t find the answer to your question below.

We already do Family Finding. How is this program different?

All case activities in 30 Days to Family® are conducted at warp speed. By the end of the first day of services, the 30 Days to Family® Specialist has reached out to engage with all parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, adult siblings, minor siblings’ caregivers, the child, and any other individuals identified by the family as important supports and connections. 


And they don’t stop there! By the end of the first week they’ve mapped out the entire family through the 4th generation (an average of 150 family members) and attempted to make meaningful contact with each and every living adult on the genogram. With every family contact, the Specialist is gathering family information as well as inquiring if and how each individual would like to maintain a connection with the child and/or support the family caregiver. 


And once family members are identified as potential placement options, the 30 Days to Family® Specialist is going out to talk with them usually that same day. No time is wasted when a child is sitting in a stranger’s home! The requirements and expectations of caring for a family member, as well as exploration of their current family dynamics, support system, and how things would change if the child moved to their home is all discussed openly. The family is valued and it’s imperative they make an informed decision and know exactly what they’re signing up for. And this is done with every single potential option! 


Once the family and team determine which family member would be the best placement option for the child, the 30 Days to Family® Specialist works on ensuring all barriers to placement are overcome and all supports are in place. The other family members become the backup options in case something unexpected happens with the primary placement. 


The goal is that all of this is completed as quickly as possible, hopefully within a few days to a week, but no more than 30 days! Whew, it’s exhausting, but the kids and families deserve it!

How does 30 Days to Family® support the kin after placement?

One of the hallmarks of 30 Days to Family® is to make sure the family member is set up for success even BEFORE placement. The family caregiver should know everything about what they are signing up for, from the child’s individual needs and how to care for them, to the county requirements on approval and licensing, and the agency expectations of attending court, meetings, parent visits, etc. 


The 30 Days to Family® Specialist takes a deep dive with the family caregiver into their own support system but also shares with them the multitude of family members who have come forward to act as a support to the child and the family caregiver. Each and every one of these supports, as well as the professional and community supports, is clearly outlined on the Roadmap to Family. A key part of the program is kinship navigation, ensuring the family caregiver is aware of and set up with all necessary supports and resources available in their community.


Even after 30 Days to Family® services conclude, the 30 Days to Family® Specialist follows up with the family caregiver to ensure everything is going smoothly and assesses whether any additional assistance is needed. The first follow up is a phone call 2 weeks after services. The second follow up is an in person meeting in the family caregiver’s home one month after services. At any point in time, the 30 Days to Family® Specialist may be contacted for additional support or assistance.

How do agencies justify a 30 Days to Family Specialist only serving 2 families at a time? That seems like it just wouldn't be cost effective...

This may seem like a ridiculously low number, but this dedication to only serving 2 families at once is one of the main reasons the outcomes are so incredible. This allows the Specialist to focus on quality conversations, by diving deep into the family dynamics, history, traditions, and natural supports. The Specialist builds true relationships with the families they work with and through this trust, a collaborative approach is utilized to identify not just “a” placement, but “the” placement for every child served.


And once the Specialist has done the incredible work with one family, it’s time for the next. We’ve done the math and although the caseload of 2 seems unheard of and unjustifiable, a 30 Days to Family® Specialist has the potential to serve more children than a traditional case manager due to the time-bound and intensive nature of the work. The Specialist can also end each day knowing they had the time to do all they could for a family. 

How does 30 Days to Family® benefit the parents?

Parents are key because in almost every case the goal is reunification. The first engagement is with parents. And we value them, genuinely listening to their ideas, concerns, and requests. Not only do parents feel heard and a part of the process, but in many instances, additional supports for the parents are also identified through the 30 Days to Family® services. And all of the supports identified for the youth while they are placed with their relative? You guessed it, they follow the youth to continue supporting them after they return home. 

Family search and engagement is already the role of our case managers. Can you just train them on the model and add it to their duties?

We would love to train case managers on the techniques of family search and engagement, but we’ve been in this field long enough to know that adding another task to someone’s already full plate just doesn’t work. The 30 Days to Family® work is, what we believe, exactly what every case manager would do if there were only an extra 8 hours in every day! 


The case manager has enough to do in the first 30 days – from paperwork to court reports to assessments to service plans, 30 Days to Family® allows the case manager to focus on everything else while the 30 Days to Family® Specialist can focus on finding and engaging the family. 


Interested in being trained on these techniques? No problem! We offer training to individuals, agencies or even entire regions on the philosophies and methods used in 30 Days to Family®. Click here to find out more. 

What agencies are best suited to replicate 30 Days to Family®?

The 30 Days to Family® program is adaptable to be replicated by almost any arm in the child welfare field. So far it’s been replicated by the following: county child welfare agencies, contracted foster care case management agencies, and non-profit service providers. We’ve engaged in discussions about replicating the program within a court system, and even about replicating within a CASA or GAL program.

Where does this program work best - rural or urban areas?

We have replication sites in the most rural areas as well as large urban areas. What we’ve found is family is family no matter what part of the country they’re from. 30 Days to Family® is a nimble intervention, focusing on the specific needs of the children and families in a given community. The program is proven to work in urban areas, rural communities, and everywhere in between!

Is the program studied and proven?

You bet! Independent evaluations were completed both at the site of origin (St. Louis, MO) and a number of replication sites in Ohio. Here are the key findings. 

Is the program in the Clearinghouses?

30 Days to Family® is rated in the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse (CEBC)  as “Promising Research Evidence” under the topic area of “Permanency Enhancement Interventions for Adolescents.” The program is also designated as “High Child Welfare System Relevance.” 


We have submitted the program to the Title IV-E Clearinghouse in October of 2019; like many others, we are still waiting on a determination.    

Is there a cost for our agency to replicate the 30 Days to Family® program?

There is. The Institute provides over 1,000 hours of support and assistance to help set up a replicating site for success in the first year of program implementation! While we aren’t trying to make a profit, we do need to cover our staffing costs. Additionally, the program is trademarked by the program originators, the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition. A portion of the replication fees charged go directly to the Coalition to purchase the yearly license for an agency to utilize the program name, tools, and techniques. 


With all this being said, we DO NOT want children and families to go without this amazing service so we are happy to discuss costs and how the Institute’s development team may be able to assist in securing supplemental funding. Reach out to our Chief Operating Officer, Melanie Moredock at [email protected] to get the conversation rolling!

What kind of support does the Institute provide for agencies replicating the program?

The Institute employs a stage-based implementation process to ensure the successful rollout of 30 Days to Family® program. The first step is Exploration, where we, along with the agency, take a deep dive into agency culture, jurisdictional nuances, and current practices to identify next steps to ensure the program’s success. During the Installation Phase, the Institute assists the agency with hiring the 30 Days to Family® team, training the team, engaging with stakeholders, and developing internal and external processes for a smooth launch of the program. And during the Program Launch phase, when Specialists begin services on their first case, the Institute staff travels to the agency to work side by side with the Specialist for the first 1-3 days of a case. After this initial visit, the Institute provides daily consultation calls for the first case, then slowly tapering down the support for subsequent cases. The Institute conducts quarterly site visits and fidelity monitoring and will provide additional support and training as needed. 

We love the idea of this program but we might not have the buy-in from our stakeholders. Does the Institute help with this?

We LOVE helping with this! It’s kind of our jam, as our CEO would say. We are with you for stakeholder engagement and discussions as much as you’d like us to be during the Exploration and Installation phases of the implementation process.We will work with you and your stakeholders to identify potential barriers, challenges, and ideas so everyone involved can see the benefit of 30 Days to Family® for children, families, and the child welfare system as a whole in their community. 

Does our agency hire 30 Days to Family® staff or does the Institute deploy staff to our agency?

The replicating agency will hire their own 30 Days to Family® staff. As part of the Institute’s technical assistance, we will assist an agency with the hiring process. Once the 30 Days to Family® team is hired, the Institute jumps right in to provide training and technical support to ensure everyone knows the ends and outs of the model and is set up for success!

We have high kinship placement numbers already. How would the 30 Days to Family® program benefit us?

First off, great job! There are many agencies with a ton of passionate workers everywhere working hard to connect children in foster care with their families, and achieving great results. 30 Days to Family® is not trying to reinvent the wheel. However, the unique aspects of 30 Days to Family®, such as having a specialized worker providing services, only two cases being worked at a time, and the emphasis placed on urgency and exhaustive efforts, can further bolster the work that’s already being done. 


Sometimes when a child comes into foster care, family members are identified immediately that want to be involved. But sometimes children must remain in a foster home only because no one on the team has the bandwidth to dig as deep as it takes to find appropriate relatives. Even if your agency is fantastic at finding family placements for a high percentage of children entering the system, 30 Days to Family® can get to work on those children who otherwise would head straight into a foster home, causing the overall kinship placement rate to skyrocket!


In addition, 30 Days to Family® works wonders for children who may have medical, mental health, or behavioral needs which present challenges to making sure that a family placement will be safe. As stated above, because a 30 Days to Family® Specialist is fully dedicated to this type of work, they can find success where other members of the professional team cannot. The family tree is expanded to an incredible degree and the Specialist can work very intensely with prospective placement options to make sure they are supported to meet any complex needs a child may have. 

What about kids in residential care / congregate care?

Youth in residential care are near and dear to our hearts. We would love to talk about how the 30 Days to Family® program philosophies could be applied in this space, but we are also very aware that many youth in congregate care have complex trauma histories that caregivers need to be prepared for to ensure long term success and stability. We recognize this may not be able to be accomplished within the 30-day timeframe and we certainly don’t want to set any family member up for failure by rushing things. Let’s talk this through and see how the program may be adapted to fit the needs of your agency.