Operated in collaboration with the Los Angeles
County Department of Probation, this program was
initiated to help several of our young men and women
establish lasting, permanent relationships with
significant family members who otherwise would not
have been available to them.
Optimist’s Family Finding Program is a way to locate family members via Internet search
mechanisms. This is aided by formulating family trees from memory, searching old case
files for telephone numbers and addresses, and interviewing old neighbors. Once a family
is located, a great deal of discussion happens amongst the Family Finder, youth and the
therapist (if different from the Family Finder). The next steps are determined by the
circumstances of each youth and the located relative.
Many of the located relatives respond positively. There are numerous accounts of family
finding programs nationwide and statewide that give testimonials from “found” relatives who
state they are happy to hear from the youth and have often wondered what happened to the
child. However, the Family Finder still proceeds with caution. Our Family Finding staff is still
bound by confidentiality and the youth may shy away from divulging their location and
circumstances until a later period or comfort level is reached.
Family Finding is not necessarily a plan to find a relative with the sole purpose of them
adopting the youth. Family Finding is a success when relatives can be located and a
lasting connection can be established. If the reconnection establishes nothing more than a
report of a family history, periodic conversations, invitations to holiday gatherings/events,
and our youth knows they are truly connected to others in the intimate way that family is, then
it is successful.
For more information, please contact: