September 2022Vol. 23, No. 7Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections
A series of articles in Family Integrity and Justice Quarterly, "Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections," discusses the importance of maintaining familial relationships in the wake of out-of-home care, the need for permanency, and the damage that severing ties with family means to children and youth involved with child welfare, especially children of color. In addition to being overrepresented in foster care, Black children also face higher rates of poor outcomes—including being less likely to be adopted and more likely to age out of foster care.
The article emphasizes familial connections and the benefits of these stable relations as a "buffer" against the negative effects of adverse life experiences and asks readers to reexamine the preference for adoption over other, more flexible and connected options, such as guardianship. Relational permanency can help maintain vital familial, lifelong connections. Additionally, it describes how youth in foster care have stepped forward to challenge what permanency means and how the Children's Bureau has met with youth to learn how they value relational permanency.
The article walks readers through the child welfare laws and policies enacted during the 1990s and explains how these perpetuated biases against Black families and mothers. It also calls attention to how, despite the outpouring of apparent support for Black lives during the summer of 2020 and the suspension of many child welfare services, parental-rights terminations continued. Throughout the article, the authors ask readers to question how the adoption and foster care systems are working for families and the role humanity plays in foster care.
"Reimagining Permanency: The Struggle for Racial Equity and Lifelong Connections" is available in the winter 2022 issue of Family and Integrity Justice Quarterly.