The ultimate goal for children and youth in foster care is for them to transition to safe and permanent families. As youth age, however, they are less likely than younger children in foster care to achieve legal permanency. Youth who exit care without achieving permanency are at risk for a number of negative outcomes, including lower income, poorer health, and higher arrest rates. Agencies can and should seek permanency for youth, and there are various strategies for doing so. Additionally, agencies can help youth establish and maintain meaningful connections with caring adults who can provide guidance and support. Resources include State and local examples.
Presents recorded conversations from the All-In Campaign, a partnership between FosterClub, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the Children's Bureau. The campaign includes a Youth Engagement Team made up of 11 people with lived experience in foster care. Team members engaged in three conversations with ACF and Children's Bureau leadership on permanency, which can be accessed after filling out a free form.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Defining and Achieving Permanency Among Older Youth in Foster Care
Salazar, Jones, Amemiya, Cherry, Brown, Catalano, & Monahan (2018)
Children and Youth Services Review, 87
Presents the findings of a study on how youth define permanency, how much progress have youth made in achieving permanency, and what outcomes are associated with permanency. The study concludes with implications for the field.
"I Want Other Kids to Know the Things I Learned Over Time"
Features advice for parents, professionals, and youth from a young woman who was adopted as an adult.
Promoting Permanency for Teens: A 50 State Review of Law and Policy (PDF - 3,152 KB)
Johnson, Speiglman, Mauldon, Grimm, & Perry (2018)
National Center for Youth Law
Explores State policy and practices on permanency and transitioning to adulthood for youth in foster care. The report concludes with recommendations for permanency standards for States.
Recommendations for Improving Permanency and Well-Being (PDF - 3,985 KB)
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.
What Are Some Effective Strategies for Older Youth Adoption?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Presents strategies taken from jurisdictions experiencing higher rates of older youth adoption that have worked to achieve higher rates of permanency for this population. The strategies include youth-driven permanency, utilizing family search and engagement, kinship adoption, community-based recruitment, caseworker support, and adoption support and preservation services.
What I Learned From My Mother About Adopting a Teen
Provides advice for parents who are planning to adopt a teenager on understanding trauma, how to connect with teens, the importance of focusing on youths' strengths, how to be a successful advocate, how to make youth feel comfortable in a new home, and more. The advice comes from a social worker who has lived experience in foster care and was adopted.
Destination Family: Achieving Permanency for Children and Youth Through Relationship Development Matching
National American Council on Adoptable Children
Outlines a program that prepares children who have barriers to adoption, such as emotional or developmental disabilities or being part of a large sibling group, and supports the family after the adoption is finalized to improve permanency.
Partnerships for Permanency in Sacramento County
Casey Family Programs (2017)
Details the use and outcomes of permanency case reviews in Sacramento County, CA, through the Casey-Sacramento partnership. The report concludes with ideas for improvement in permanency practices.
The Plummer Youth Promise: Infusing Permanency in Residential Care (PDF - 159 KB)
Lister & McLaughlin (2018)
North American Council on Adoptable Children
Describes a child welfare organization in Massachusetts that provides young people in their therapeutic residential program with specific goals designed to help them achieve permanency. The article includes tips for other organizations to get started in implementing practices to support permanency.
Promoting Supportive, Lasting Adult Connections for Older Youth in Foster Care: Good Shepherd Services’ Permanency Pact Program (PDF - 2,852 KB)
Good Shepherd Services (2018)
Shares context and background surrounding permanency outcomes in New York City that led to developing the Permanency Pact, a program that connects youth ages 16 and older with a supportive adult while they are in care and after exiting care.