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March 2023Vol. 24, No. 2Barriers to Authentic Youth Engagement in Permanency Planning

The Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY) published a report titled Barriers to Authentic Youth Engagement in Permanency Planning to present the challenges faced by youth in permanency planning. The report summarizes findings from a series of focus groups conducted with youth and young adults, as well as interviews with relevant stakeholders, about their personal experiences with authentic engagement and the perceived barriers to implementing authentic engagement. Fifteen people with recent lived expertise in the child welfare system were interviewed as well as 15 child welfare professionals and 11 court professionals. The report also incorporates a list of the most common barriers identified by the QIC-EY Youth Engagement Advisory Council. This report provides a qualitative analysis of the information from all these sources to summarize and define the main barriers identified by each group.

The most common barriers to youth engagement were time constraints, staffing challenges, and legal regulations. The findings indicate that there are several other key barriers that limit youth engagement in permanency planning, including a lack of understanding of the permanency planning process, lack of trust in the system, lack of cultural competency, lack of connection to an adult mentor, and lack of communication and collaboration between those involved. The report outlines recommendations for addressing these barriers, including engaging youth in the planning process, creating more culturally competent systems, and building trust through meaningful relationships.

Read the full report for more information and insight on the barriers as well as additional details on the recommendations.