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Catholic Community Services

Family Search & Engagement – Young Adult Program

Service Area

Family Search & Engagement young adult program serves Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Marion and Lane counties.


  • Youth ages 10-24 years old.

  • Youth engaged in services through the Young Adult Virtual Mental Health Hubs or other intensive service programs.

Description of Services

Every youth deserves to grow up knowing who they are and where they come from. Family Search and Engagement is a powerful tool for reconnection that empowers youth to reclaim their family, culture and personal identity.

Six Stages Family Search & Engagement

  1. Setting the Stage
    Prepare the youth and their team by engaging the youth, explaining the process, and identifying concerns the team may have about the process.

  2. Discovery
    Search for family information by contacting known family members and past and current professionals, utilizing internet tools, and searching records such as the child welfare file.

  3. Engagement
    Collaborating with the legal guardian and youth, assess each located family member and decide based on history and current life circumstances who to approach. Initial contact may be by letter, phone call, or even in person. Explore with each family member what type of involvement, if any, they wish to have.

  4. Planning and Decision Making
    Report back to the youth, legal guardian, and team about the level of involvement each family member wishes to have as well as potential strengths or concerns. Discuss which family members to move forward with and next steps to begin creating connections.

  5. Evaluation
    Evaluate how the plans for connection have worked out. Explore if there are needs or barriers that can be addressed, such as a lack of transportation, communication difficulties, or other support.

  6. Sustaining connections
    Develop plans for how the family will stay connected without professional involvement to ensure that relationships will be self-sustaining.

Goals of Family Search & Engagement

Family Search is about finding life-long connections for each youth to give them a sense of who they are and where they come from.

Family members can help youth by:

  • Sharing family stories and family history.

  • Supplying the youth with family photos.

  • Sharing family medical history.

  • Having day or overnight visits.

  • Having the youth over for holidays.

  • Celebrating birthdays or graduations.

  • Attending court and helping to advocate for the youth.

  • Providing transportation or supervision for sibling or other family visits.

  • Teaching life skills like laundry or cooking.

  • Proving emotional support as a trusted confidante and friend.

  • Showing the youth how to have healthy family relationships.

  • Giving the youth a sense of belonging.

Staff & Capacity

CCS has two full-time staff working to engage family and other natural supports in youth’s lives. CCS is able to serve between 14-18 youth at a time.

Referrals and Questions

Courtney Elkins, MS 
Family Search and Engament Supervisor
Phone: (503) 939-3321

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