For Child Welfare Professionals
For youth in foster care, adoption means that they belong and can feel connected to a family who will support them no matter what. While young people might initially be resistant to the idea of permanency, it is vital that professionals continue to talk to them about what family means and how positive relationships will benefit them even into adulthood. Below are resources to help professionals engage youth, prepare them for adoption, and convey the urgent need for legal and emotional permanency for young people in care.
Every Kid Needs a Family: Giving Children in the Child Welfare System the Best Chance for Success (PDF - 2,458 KB)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2015)
Emphasizes the importance of children growing up with families and outlines ways in which State and local leaders can work together to enhance family-oriented services and supports.
Helping Youth Connect (PDF - 17,725 KB)
Alia Innovations (2018)
Presents an effective four-phase framework—protect, grieve, connect, and regulate—for helping youth heal from relational trauma and find permanency.
It’s Time to Make Older Child Adoption a Reality (PDF - 1,100 KB)
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2009)
Provides policy and practice recommendations to address barriers to older youth adoption.
Preparing Children and Youth for Permanency
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Lists resources that can help professionals prepare youth throughout the permanency process. Resources include State and local examples.
Redefining Residential: Strategic Interventions to Advance Youth Permanency (PDF - 176 KB)
Lister, Lieberman, and Sisson (2016)
American Association of Children’s Residential Centers
Explains how residential intervention can provide an opportunity to address permanency concurrently with safety and well-being for youth.
Strategies for Authentic Integration of Family and Youth Voice in Child Welfare (PDF - 454 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2019)
Addresses ways child welfare agencies can authentically engage families and youth and include their voice and valuable lived experiences at the agency level to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families.
Unpacking the No: Helping Young People Explore the Idea of Adoption
Stevens and Libertin (2018)
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Lists reasons why youth may not want to participate in adoptive family recruitment and possible ways that child welfare workers can respond.
FOCUS ON: Engaging Youth
Develop specific prompts and tools to remind child welfare workers to talk with youth about what family and permanency mean to them.
Work with adopted youth to develop materials about what it means to have a permanent family, what adoption can mean for them, and how adoption doesn’t mean replacing their existing relationships.
Strengthen your agency’s prioritization of permanency, as suggested in the publication, Creating a Permanency Driven Organization: A Guidebook for Change in Child Welfare (PDF - 9,155 KB).
Use training materials from the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative to understand the importance of achieving and sustaining permanence for healthy development.