Relational permanency is fundamental to the well-being of children and youth. It occurs when young people form lasting, supportive connections that extend beyond their time in foster care. While the primary responsibility of the child welfare system is to promote legal permanency, such as reunification, adoption, and guardianship, it is also important to prioritize relational permanency. Relational permanency is a tool that supports the broader concept of kin-first culture in child welfare—a culture in which children and youth remain supported by and connected to their families, communities, and racial and cultural identities.

The development of lifelong connections is crucial to helping young people navigate adulthood. Connections can include relationships with siblings, other relatives, friends, peers, mentors, and others. Having strong relationships allows young people to feel loved, accepted, and supported throughout their lives. It also provides social connection, a protective factor that can mitigate the effects of trauma and help build resiliency to obstacles and challenges.

Use these resources to learn more about relational permanency, including the importance of emotional connection and support for youth transitioning out of care. 

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