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September 2019Vol. 20, No. 7Youth Permanency Toolkit

The National Center for Child Welfare Excellence offers a web-based toolkit that provides a brief history of youth permanency, its current definition, and information on the adolescent brain and developmentally appropriate permanency services. It also provides information on the five core components of youth permanency:

  • Active engagement and preparation of youth—Permanency planning should be guided by each youth's wishes and particular needs
  • Active search, engagement, preparation, and support of parents, family, and kin—Finding a permanent family for a youth in care includes first identifying and locating parents and relatives and using a respectful, persistent, and purposeful process to reach out and engage them. That is followed by preparing and supporting certain individuals to play an ongoing role in the youth's life.
  • Facilitation of youth-driven, family-centered team decision-making—Active youth engagement is critical to shared planning and decision-making by youth, parents, family members, and other stakeholders. 
  • Consideration, exploration, and implementation of a full range of permanency options—There is a primary emphasis on achieving permanency outcomes through reunification with birth parents, adoption, or legal guardianship by relatives or nonrelatives; limiting the need for another planned permanent living arrangement; reinstating parental rights for youth who have not been adopted following termination of parental rights; and using evidence-informed recruitment practices for youth who cannot safely reunify with birth parents.
  • Strategic use of best-practice casework tools in youth permanency—Casework tools include the Belonging and Emotional Security Tool, the Connectedness Diagram, digital stories of youth permanency, mobility mapping, and more.

The toolkit also includes an organizational self-study that child welfare agencies can use to review their policies and practices and identify their technical assistance and training needs.

Youth Permanency Toolkit is available at