The ultimate goal for children and youth in out-of-home care (also called foster care) is for them to transition to safe and legally permanent families as quickly as possible. In most circumstances, children can be reunited with their families, but children also may find permanent homes with other relatives or adoptive families. As youth age, however, they are less likely than younger children in out-of-home care to achieve legal permanency. One way to strengthen permanency outcomes for youth in care, especially older youth, is to involve them in the permanency-planning process from beginning to end. This includes both legal permanency (e.g., adoption) and relational permanency (i.e., a relationship or connection with a caring adult, such as a relative, neighbor, or other important person in the youth's life). The following resources provide information that supports professionals in shifting to a youth-driven permanency-planning process.
2018 National Adoption Month: Lifting Up Youth Voices to Promote Permanency [Webinar]
AdoptUSKids & Child Welfare Information Gateway (2018)
Features professionals, youth, and young adults who have experience engaging youth in promoting permanency for themselves and others and developing public platforms to help inform and influence local and statewide permanency efforts.
Engaging Older Youth in Permanency Planning
Juvenile Law Center (2019)
Discusses recommendations on how child welfare professionals can engage youth in permanency planning. Some of the effective methods include communicating the importance of permanency, focusing on relational permanency and legal permanency, following family-finding requirements, and ensuring a comprehensive transition plan is in place.
Older Youth Permanence
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017)
Provides resources on the importance of permanent connections and strategies for youth and child welfare professionals.
Pathways to Permanency: Expanding on APPLA Provisions and Youth Engagement to Improve Permanency (PDF - 225 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States & Capacity Building Center for Courts (2017)
Defines child welfare agency and court responsibilities related to the another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) provisions of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014. It also provides background information on the purpose of APPLA as well as strategies for increasing youth engagement and voice in permanency planning.
The Role of the Court in Implementing the Older Youth Provisions of the Strengthening Families Act (PDF - 650 KB)
Outlines the provisions of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (SFA). This issue brief lists the basic legal requirements of SFA, discusses court implementation, suggests questions the court can ask, and gives strategies for attorneys and advocates to prepare youth for court and permanency planning.
Tools for Success: A Toolkit for Child Welfare Professionals to Achieve Permanency and Stability for Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 7,260 KB)
Youth Fostering Change & Juvenile Law Center (2018)
Provides information for social workers, advocates, caseworkers, and other child welfare professionals who support youth in achieving legal permanency and relational permanency. It includes tools and best practices for working with youth to achieve permanency.
Tribal Leadership Series: Youth Engagement (PDF - 5,200 KB)
First Kids 1st (2018)
Provides information for Tribal leaders on how to engage youth. The brief discusses the importance of youth engagement and the practices and tools to support it.
We Never Outgrow the Need for Family–Just Ask Us: Talking With Older Youth About Adoption [Webinar]
AdoptUSKids & Child Welfare Information Gateway (2016)
Describes how to have more effective and meaningful conversations with teenagers about permanency. This webinar features a panel discussion with two young adults formerly in foster care, an adoptive parent, and an adoption professional.