Anu Family Services has been creating permanent connections to loving and stable families since 1992. Its culture of innovation is evident in its willingness to do what it takes to develop new relationships and partnerships, its rigorous pursuit of its goal and work steeped in evidence and data, and its attempt to not only improve its own outcomes, but also to influence the field of child welfare; creating tools and guidelines that didn’t before exist.
Anu Family Services has been doing for years what others in the field of child welfare said was not possible – finding permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Intensive Permanence Services is an innovation for children in out-of-home care that provides grief and loss counseling combined with robust family searches. The process by which Anu Family Services achieved this innovation was inclusive, collaborative and resourceful. They meaningfully engaged 10 different stakeholder groups in the development, execution and continuous quality improvement of the service, including former and current youth who taught them what was most important and helped them shape the program.
When Anu Family Services set the ambitious goal of being the last placement prior to permanence for 90% of the children it serves in Treatment Foster Care, the needs of the youth drove the goal, not its business model. With a possibly unattainable goal in front of them, Anu Family Services set out to boldly transform its business model completely and gather the knowledge and partnerships necessary to achieve its goal. The organization’s leadership talked with numerous organizations about how to transform their work and when they found like-minded people and organizations, they asked them to become partners.
As a result of this process and its pursuit of innovative solutions, Anu Family Services has increased its rates of discharges from foster care to permanent families from 38% to 70%, and tools it developed are now nationally recognized and used.