- February 2006
- Vol. 7, No. 1
Achieving Permanence for Older Foster Children
Two recent resources offer promising approaches to youth permanency.
A new report developed for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Family to Family Initiative by the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) elaborates on an emerging philosophy of youth permanency that stresses the possibility of permanency for all youth, the need for commitment on the part of caring adults, and the importance of the input of the youth themselves. The report identifies successful programs, policies, and strategies that have helped older children find permanent families.
- Persuade social workers, youth, and others to value permanent families for older children and to provide every youth with a case plan for permanence.
- Seek and support kinship families who are willing to provide permanence.
- Use effective recruitment techniques.
- Train and support families who adopt or assume permanent custody of older youth.
The publication, A Family for Every Child: Strategies to Achieve Permanence for Older Foster Children and Youth, was written by M. Ford, M. Boo, and J. Kroll.
A recent publication from Casey Family Services addresses the unique problems of youth in the child welfare system as they approach adulthood without a permanent family connection. A Call to Action: An Integrated Approach to Youth Permanency and Preparation for Adulthood examines the problem of youth aging out of care, definitions of permanency, and ways that child welfare practice can change to better address the problem.
A Call to Action proposes that the best approach to helping these youth is one that is individualized for each youth and combines a broad range of permanency outcomes with thoughtful preparation for adulthood. Some guiding principles for carrying out this integrated approach include the following:
- Embrace sound definitions of permanency and preparation for adulthood.
- Blend youth-related policies and practices.
- Be youth-centered, family-focused, and collaborative.
- Ensure comprehensive, continuous, and customized services for youth and families.
- Promote a vision of shared responsibility.
The report was developed by Casey Family Services' Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice, in collaboration with California Permanency for Youth Project, Casey Family Programs, and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, Inc.