Permanency planning for children should involve children's parents and other family members. When families are engaged in case planning, they are more likely to actively participate in the plan and work toward its requirements. Involved families also are more likely to perceive the identified goals to be relevant and attainable and to be satisfied with the planning and decision-making process. In addition to being overrepresented in foster care, children of color are more likely to experience poor permanency outcomes. Children of color are less likely to be adopted or reunified with their families and are more likely to remain in out-of-home care. The importance of maintaining family relationships and the need for expedited permanency are even more pronounced for these children. The following resources provide examples of approaches administrators, supervisors, and frontline workers can use to enhance family engagement in permanency planning.
Child and Family Team Meeting Guide (PDF - 938 KB)
Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (2022)
Describes how to host successful child and family team meetings and how child welfare professionals can ensure that family members are engaged in permanency planning and decision-making.
Child and State Factors in Positive Permanency: A Multi-Level Survival Analysis
LaBrenz et al. (2021)
Journal of Public Child Welfare, 17(6)
Offers a study on child and State factors that impact permanency outcomes, with a focus on racial disparities. Results showed that Black and Hispanic children faced barriers to all types of permanency compared to white children. Recommendations for improvement included engaging families of color in the decision-making processes and permanency planning.
Cultural Competence: Impact on Permanency for African American Children [Video]
Shares a video on the importance of cultural competency training for child welfare practitioners and others who engage with families to achieve permanency for children and youth of color in the child welfare system.
Decreasing Racial Disparity in Permanency: A Conversation With Tatenda Perry
Presents a question-and-answer session with Tatenda Perry, the State Director of Foster Care at Access Family Services. The conversation explores the need for caseworker training on working with families of color around permanency and discusses the need for family preservation services and family support.
Engaging the Child, Family, and Significant Adults (PDF - 204 KB)
Virginia Department of Social Services (2020)
Child and Family Services Manual
Discusses the importance of family engagement with youth and family members to make well-informed decisions about safety, permanency, lifelong connections, and well-being.
Family Engagement: Partnering With Families to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes
Prioritizing Youth Voice: The Importance of Authentic Youth Engagement in Case Planning
Racial Equity in Targeted Recruitment and Support Strategies for Reaching and Engaging Families of Color [Webinar]
Presents a webinar that discusses approaches for recruiting and supporting families of color as shared by national child welfare consultants and trainers.
Recommendations for Improving Permanency and Well-Being
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Youth Engagement Team (2021)
Provides key recommendations from three roundtable discussions with young adults with lived experience in the foster care system about how to support permanency with kin, relational permanency, and successful older youth adoption.
Re-imagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau (2022)
Children’s Bureau Express, 23(7)
Shares a series of articles on the importance of maintaining family relationships, the need for permanency, and the damage that severing ties with family can do to children and youth involved with child welfare, especially children of color. The journal requires an email address to access articles.
The Role of Leaders in Engaging Youth and Families to Achieve Timely Permanency for Children and Youth Waiting to Be Adopted
Capacity Building Center for States (2021)
Offers tips and concrete strategies that child welfare leaders and caseworkers can implement as they work to embrace a permanency-driven culture of youth and family engagement. View the related supervisor toolkit.
Strategies for Authentic Integration of Family and Youth Voice in Child Welfare (PDF - 454 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2019)
Reviews tools and strategies for engaging families and youth at the agency level and addresses ways child welfare agencies can integrate their input to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families.
What Are Some Examples of Effective Family Search and Engagement?
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Discusses strategies to help locate and engage family members who may serve as kinship caregivers for children in foster care. It lists the core components of the strategies and provides examples of approaches.
What Are the Four Tiers of Authentic Family Engagement? [Video]
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Presents the four tiers of family engagement for child welfare professionals, according to Corey Best of the Birth Parent National Network. The video describes how child welfare agencies can operate at all four tiers to engage family members.