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May 2013Vol. 14, No. 4Evaluating Youth Connections

While achieving legal permanence for youth in care—through reunification, adoption, or guardianship—is important, achieving lifelong emotional and relational permanence with caring adults also is vital to youth well-being. The Center for Advance Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) and Anu Family Services, a Treatment Foster Care Agency, developed a tool to help child welfare professionals measure the relational permanence of the youth with whom they work.

With the Youth Connections Scale (YCS), professionals can evaluate, on a scale from zero to 100, the following domains:

  • The number of meaningful connections with supportive adults
  • The strength of connections and frequency and consistency of contact
  • The specific types of supports identified as most important by youth
  • The overall level of connectedness

CASCW's implementation guide provides workers and agencies with information on developing a YCS pilot program, the Youth Connection Scale, implementation instructions, scoring instructions and a scoring guide, a tracking sheet for measuring results, and resources for additional support.

Measuring Relational Permanence of Youth: The Youth Connections Scale Implementation Guide is available on the CASCW website: (1 MB)