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Permanency for Youth and Young Adults

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    
  • Facilitating an Adult Adoption as a Pathway to Permanence for Older Youth
    Adult adoption is the legal process of adopting a person over the age of 18, which results in a legally recognized parent-child relationship. This publication highlights the possibility of this pathway to permanence for older youth and young adults who have yet to establish permanent legal connections. It provides an overview of the steps to facilitating an adult adoption and discusses common reasons for considering this option. Additional resources are provided, along with a listing of State-specific statutes, information, and resources. (April 2013)
  • Older Adolescent Permanency and APPLA (2005-2011)
    NRCPFC compiled this list of resources on the topics of 1) older adolescent permanency and 2) Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement. Website links are included for resources that are available for free online. (September 2011)
  • Youth Permanency
    Prepared for NRCPFC by the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information/National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (now the Child Welfare Information Gateway). (April 2006)
  • Permanence for Young People
    The National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections and the Casey Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice at Casey Family Services co-sponsored a meeting of experts in the field of youth permanency to develop a framework and measurements that can be used by public child welfare agencies throughout the country to improve practice. Such a framework for practice, combined with a way to measure results, can be particularly helpful to States seeking to prepare and implement Program Improvement Plans in response to the Child and Family Service Reviews. The experience and expertise in permanence for young people represented at the meeting provided the guidance to develop this comprehensive national framework and outcome measures. (June 2004)
  • Youth in Care Handbooks
    Youth in foster care are becoming increasingly aware of their own potential to effect change for themselves personally and within the system. One avenue that allows them to learn more about their own rights and responsibilities, and that can lead to empowerment for them, is the use of handbooks written for and about young people in care. The NCCWE has compiled this state-by-state listing of free online handbooks. These handbooks assist children and youth in navigating the child welfare system, provide answers to common questions, and list available resources.


  Training & Curricula    
  • Unpacking the “No” of Permanency for Older Adolescents
    This PowerPoint focusing on "Unpacking the "No" of Permanency for Adolescents" is a part of approved on-site Technical Assistance (TA) which NRCPFC engaged in with the State of Florida in three Regions (Ocala, Volusia and Orlando). This work supported the Permanency Roundtables Initiative by Casey Family Programs in these same Regions and underpins the framework of "Permanency Values" for the Permanency Roundtable Initiatives. NRCPFC was proud to collaborate with Casey Family Programs on this important permanency initiative. (November 2011)
  • A Framework and Measures for Youth Permanency
    This NRCPFC presentation describes the framework and measures developed at a national experts meeting in 2004 co-sponsored by NRCPFC and the Casey Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice. The organizing framework for the Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Permanence for Young People can guide child welfare agencies across the country to help young people achieve and maintain permanent family relationships. It proposes six key components of successfully identifying and supporting permanent family relationships for young people in out-of-home care. (August 2005)
  • Exploring Permanency for Youth
    This PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Gerald Mallon, NRCPFC Executive Director, addresses the array of permanency options, as well as barriers to change and recommendations related to the following challenges: developing a comprehensive definition of permanency, prioritizing youth in permanency planning, reliance on the practice of sequential planning, limited involvement of youth in their own permanency plans, lack of permanent resources, lack of pre-post placement support services, lack of financial flexibility to foster permanent relationships, and legal barriers to alternate forms of permanency. (May 2002)
  • Facilitating Permanency for Older Adolescents
    This PowerPoint presentation from NRCPFC discusses what permanency means for young people, various pathways to permanence, and how to work with youth to help them achieve permanency.


  Teleconferences, Webinars, Webcasts & Videos    
  • Unpacking the No of Permanency for Older Youth
    Facilitating permanency for youth in foster care can be very challenging work. Many teens that have been in the child welfare system have experienced multiple placements and relationships and are at a challenging crossroad between childhood and adulthood. Adults who work with youth have an ethical and moral responsibility to help them identify caring, committed adults with whom they might want to establish a lifelong connection. The practice and professional literature speaks to the importance of permanence for youth and how continued instability increases the long-term risks for teens, which may continue well into adulthood. The best Independent Living programs in the world (and there are many good ones) cannot provide the same solace that a family can give to a young person. In this webcast, Dr. Gerald Mallon, NRCPFC Executive Director, discussed the concept of permanency for older youth. He discussed APPLA and explored various permanency options – reunification, guardianship, relative care, and adoption. He provided guidance on the process of exploring adoption with adolescents, considering factors that may cause adolescents to initially reject the idea of being adopted, and providing suggestions for what workers can say instead of accepting their “No.” Dr. Mallon also discussed resources and Technical Assistance on this topic available through NRCPFC. Dr. Mallon’s daughter, Leslie Fuller, shared her experience of growing up in foster care and being adopted as an adult, and offered her perspective on the topic. (December 2012)
  • Parenting Older Adolescents
    In this webcast, Dr. Gerald Mallon, Executive Director of the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, spoke with Mary Keane, a foster and adoptive parent in New York State, as well as Aileen, one of Mary’s daughters. Mary shared her experiences as a lesbian resource parent, focusing on how she has engaged older adolescents, including how she has effectively supported youth in pursuing their educational goals. Mary also discussed how she has met the needs of LGBT youth in her care. Aileen shared her experiences in care, focusing on the type of support that has been important to her and helped her to form a positive relationship with her foster mother and siblings. (September 2011)
  • Reinstating Parental Rights for Youth in Care
    Despite laws that require termination of parental rights when a child has remained in foster care for a specified period of time, studies indicate that relationships with their biological parents/relatives are important to children/youth in foster care. Youth who become “legal orphans” through the court process often make efforts to maintain that connection. In some cases where the purpose for terminating parental rights (i.e. adoption) is not fulfilled, the child, child welfare agency, or parent has asked that the court reinstate the legal relationship between the child and parent. This NRCPFC teleconference discussed how some States are finding permanency for youth by reinstating parental rights or by biological parents adopting their birth children. This session provided an overview of issues, discussed legal actions taken by States, considered possible solutions, and explored the question, “Where do we go from here?” (April 2011)
  • A Discussion About Permanency for Older Adolescents
    Effective models that empower and support youth in achieving permanency must be multidimensional. Such models include recruiting and training appropriate foster and adoptive families, many of whom were previously known by the young person prior to their adoption. Effective strategies also include connecting youth to caring adults; mentoring and building connections with extended family; and strategies to effectively address the emotional/mental health issues of youth, including grief and loss. Strategies can also include community connections, family search and engagement, family connections, and caseworker and supervisor support in assessing and supporting a range of permanency options early and often in their work with youth. In this webcast, NRCPFC Executive Director, Gerald P. Mallon, and Pat O'Brien, Founder & Executive Director of You Gotta Believe! The Older Child Adoption & Permanency Movement, discuss strategies for achieving permanency with older adolescents. (March 2010)

  • Youth Permanency
    NRCPFC and CWLA hosted this teleconference on youth permanency for state foster care and adoption managers. Presenters provide an overview of youth permanency and the Region VIII Youth Permanency Initiative. A youth perspective and Massachusetts State perspective are also shared. (March 2007)

*Many of these resources were developed previously by the National Resource Center for
Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC).

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    
  • Preparing Children and Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency
    Published by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, this bulletin discusses services for children and youth in foster care to address their readiness and preparation for adoption and other permanent relationships. It focuses on ways that child welfare workers and other adults can help to prepare those children and youth whose goal is adoption; however, much of the information on preparation is also applicable to children and youth with other permanency goals. This bulletin summarizes the evolution of preparation for permanency; discusses promising practices for preparing children and youth for permanency; highlights promising programs; and provides additional tools and resources. (October 2013)
  • Love and Belonging for a Lifetime: Youth Permanency in Child Welfare
    This special issue of Protecting Children, a Professional Publication of American Humane Association, highlights many of the nuanced practice and policy issues that support effective permanency planning and decision making with adolescents in foster care. Articles include: Love and Belonging for a Lifetime, by Stacie Hanson and Sarah Greenblatt; What Finding Permanency Means from a Youth Perspective, by Dianna Walters; Independent Living Program Transformation in California: Lessons Learned about Working with Older Youth and Implications for Permanency, by Karen Lofts Jarboe and Jen Agosti; Integrating Child Welfare and Mental Health Practices: Actualizing Youth Permanency Using the 3-5-7 Model, by Darla L. Henry and Gregory Manning; Permanency for LGBTQ Youth, by Gerald P. Mallon, D.S.W.; Reinstating Parental Rights: Another Path to Permanency?, by Susan Getman and Steve Christian; and, Adopt Cuyahoga’s Kids: Securing Adoptive Placements for Older Youth in Cuyahoga County’s Public Child Welfare System, by Sue Pearlmutter, Victor Groza, Teresa Garafolo, and Betsie Norris.(2011)
  Research & Reports    
  • Realizing Permanency, Well-Being through Authentic Engagement
    This paper from Alliance for Children and Families seeks to showcase the strengths of a child and family engagement values system in which engagement isn't simply about activating family as a response to fill a placement challenge, but rather about respecting and empowering families to share responsibility for the safety, permanency, and well-being of their children. Over the last few decades, policy and practice have moved towards emphasizing kinship care and family-centered practices (i.e. Family Finding, concurrent planning, family team meetings) as tools and resources for working with children and their families. The Alliance believes these approaches, while positive, will only be able to achieve long-term results when they are practiced within a system that truly embraces person- and family-centered, and strengths-based values in every aspect of system policy, organizational culture, and day to-day practice for every child, every time. Complete the online form to download the report free of charge. (2013)
  • Increasing Your Agency’s Capacity to Respond to Prospective Parents and Prepare Older Youth for Adoption: Going Beyond Recruitment for 14 to 16 Year Olds
    This resource from AdoptUSKids is intended to help support agencies in recruiting adoptive parents for 14 to 16 year olds in foster care. It provides agencies with useful tools to inform their work and to be shared with prospective adoptive parents who are considering adopting older youth. The packet contains the following sections: Working Within and Across Systems to Promote Permanency for Older Youth; Exploring Family Characteristics that Contribute to Successful Older Youth Adoption; Helping Prospective Parents Consider and Prepare for Adopting Older Youth; Using Preparation of Prospective Parents to Address Older Youth Adoption Topics; Providing Valuable Tools and Information to Empower Families Adopting Older Youth; Preparing Older Youth for Adoption; and, Strategies to Help Older Youth Consider Adoption. (2012)
  • No Place Like Home – Casey Connects Spring 2012
    This journal issue of Casey Connects focuses on the importance of healthy family relationships for children involved in the child welfare system and efforts to reduce the number of youth in congregate care and move them more quickly into lifelong families. The first article profiles efforts by Casey Family Services to reduce the time children spend in foster care and find more permanent homes for children, including older children and children with special needs. It highlights the Lifelong Families model that works to ensure all children exit foster care to permanent families and get the support needed to sustain them. The following article discusses research on teenage brain development that emphasizes the right opportunities and family connections can help older youth heal from early trauma and move forward in a positive direction. It describes efforts by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to provide services to help young people complete their education, prepare for employment, build savings and assets, and develop permanent family relationships. The third article explains how Casey's Child Welfare Strategy Group is helping jurisdictions successfully transition youth from congregate care to family settings, while working to build a broader research base on how group care affects young adults. The issue also includes a researcher's perspective on what permanence for a child really means. (Spring 2012)
  • Never Too Old: Achieving Permanency and Sustaining Connections for Older Youth in Foster Care
    Published by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, with funding from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation, this report focuses on older youth who are aging out of care. The report explores the emancipation older youth in foster care, the social and policy context of emancipation and permanency, outcomes for emancipated youth, finding permanent families through adoption and guardianship, finding families and connections for youth, as well as policy and practice recommendations. (July 2011)
  • Using Non-Judicial Court Staff to Help Achieve Permanency for Children
    In discussing ways to improve a court's ability to achieve permanency for children, people often focus on the responsibilities of judges, attorneys and caseworkers. The activities of non-judicial court staff are often overlooked, even though their activities play a central role in the functioning of the court and can have a significant impact on the court's ability to achieve permanency for children. This article from the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues discusses innovative docketing practices, additional activities reported to help achieve permanency in a timely and effective manner and the pre-appointment of counsel as a means to improved outcomes.


  Training & Curricula    
  • Permanency Planning Toolkit: A Framework for Serving Older Youth in Care
    Older youth in the child welfare system have unique needs as they age out of care. Developed by the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, this toolkit provides information regarding the unique needs of this population, as well as effective strategies for meeting these needs. The toolkit also details the seven domains that are critical to the lives of youth, a framework developed in 2001 by Casey Family Programs, including: cultural and personal identity formation; supportive relationships and community connections; physical and mental health; life skills; education; employment; and housing. (2012)


  Teleconferences, Webinars, Webcasts & Videos    
  • Youth Who Age Out of Care- Derek Clark
    In this video clip from the "Amazing Foster Families" episode of The Ricki Lake Show, Derek Clark, a foster care expert, talks about what happens to youth who age out of the foster care system. The segment also features Reynette, a youth who shares her experience after aging out of care, and highlights a resource called The Teen Project. (November 2012)


  State Examples    
  • Iowa: Iowa’s Blueprint for Forever Families
    This document builds from Iowa's permanency vision and foundational principles adopted by the Child Welfare Advisory Committee and Children's Justice Council in 2009 to offer State and local child welfare and juvenile justice stakeholders a cohesive set of strategies to address the complex issue of permanence. It presents a framework for permanency efforts that can be used to guide the work of multiple partners and stakeholders. The framework is organized around five key areas: family and youth engagement, family preservation, placement and reunification, adoption and guardianship, and transitioning to adulthood. For each area, background data and recommendations are provided. These content areas are followed by additional recommendations for next steps needed to implement effective permanency efforts statewide, including: achieving race equity and cultural competence; training; engaging additional partners; and tracking data, measuring outcomes, and building in accountability. In some cases, existing efforts or strategies are highlighted that should be continued, strengthened or expanded; in other cases, new policies or practices are identified. Few of the recommendations require significant new resources and most offer no-cost or low-cost approaches to embed best permanency practice into ongoing work within existing resources. (2011)



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Last updated 8/18/14