PHOENIX November 3, 2015 Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development has received a $20,000 grant from Arizona First Advised Fund, via the Arizona Community Foundation, to further develop the innovative “Family Finding” reunification program it adopted this year.
Family Finding is a 6-step approach to identifying supportive adults in the often-dispersed families of homeless and traumatized youth who can work together to form a permanent support network for the youth. Developed by California-based researcher Kevin Campbell, the program has been used around the world in settings ranging from foster homes to refugee families displaced by war. Tumbleweed is among the first agencies to use Family Finding specifically with homeless youth.
Tumbleweed will use the funds to train two staffers as “local experts” in Family Finding and to train two Tumbleweed client youth to organize a Tumbleweed-based Youth Leadership Council to serve as a support group and sounding board for youth experiencing the Family Finding process.
“Many young people find themselves dealing with complex and volatile emotions as they go through this process, and this can discourage them from continuing,” said Tumbleweed Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Schuler. “The Youth Leadership Council will provide peer support.”
“We also discovered in our initial rollout that we need people deeply trained in the technique who can serve as onsite or “local” experts so that we maintain true fidelity with the Family Finding technique,” she added. “With cases varying dramatically depending on each individual’s situation, local experts can ensure reliability and stability in the process.”
Schuler says Tumbleweed expects to have the Leadership Council launched by January. Staff training will be scheduled for early 2016.