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September 2000Vol. 1, No. 6National Resource Center for Youth Development Publishes Adolescent Permanency Report

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 directed child welfare agencies to place more children and youth in permanent homes. But what does "permanency" mean for adolescents?

The National Resource Center for Youth Development examined the question of adolescent permanency, including its implications on independent living services. In its recently published report, Permanency Planning: Creating Life Long Connections--What Does It Mean for Adolescents?, the Resource Center presents the results of a two-day Adolescents and Permanency Think Tank and recommendations for next steps.

Three issues emerged in examining the literature related to adolescents in the child welfare system:

  • Adolescents need connections to adults and peers throughout their lifetime
  • Adolescents need to be taught skills that will prepare them to live independently
  • All youth, but particularly adolescents, must be seen as central actors in their own futures and must be incorporated fully into the planning process for their future.

The Think Tank brought together State independent living coordinators, State foster care workers, State adoption workers, and youth. The group identified issues for adolescents related to safety, permanency, and well-being. Participants also pinpointed supports necessary for youth to achieve these goals and implementation strategies. Some of the support categories discussed were:

  • Relationship with caring peers and adults
  • Youth driven change
  • Youth defined family connections
  • Organization and workforce enhancement
  • Adoption as an option

The Resource Center's publication is meant as a starting point for States in planning permanency for adolescents. It includes specific recommendations for States, emphasizing the need to identify driving and restraining forces, develop assessment tools, define outcomes, conduct focus groups with young people, educate policy makers, and network with other organizations and agencies to achieve permanency for adolescents.

A copy of the report is available online at: ://

For a print copy or to obtain more information regarding adolescents and permanency, contact:

National Resource Center for Youth Development
University of Oklahoma
College of Continuing Education
4502 E. 41st St.
Tulsa, OK 74135
Phone: 918-660-3700
Fax: 918-660-3737