Credit hours:

Course Summary

For a young person in foster care, having permanence means stability and reliable, supportive lifelong connections. All youth in foster care need it. Understanding permanency and the Permanency Pact described in this course can give you confidence as you guide youth in your care towards building and strengthening relationships with supportive people in their life.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • The importance of permanency for youth in care

  • How young people in foster care think about permanency

  • The different types of permanent relationships and their roles in the lives of youth in care

  • The difference between positive and negative supports

  • Several ways a transitioning youth could benefit from the support of an adult

  • How to brainstorm a list of prospective Permanency Pact adults

  • How to access and create a Permanency Pact

  • The importance of understanding that permanency comes with responsibility from all people involved – including youth

Step 1

Watch the video "What Does Permanency Mean?" developed by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation to better understand what permanency means to foster youth.

Step 2

Meet the Lived Experience Leaders involved in the ACF’s All-In Youth Engagement Team, and learn from their expertise about what they would like to see for permanency in the foster care system.  Then review the All-In Youth Engagement Team’s  Recommendations for Improving Permanency and Well-Being.

Step 3

Review the FosterClub Permanency Pact. The Pact is designed to help foster youth identify supportive adult connections which will continue to provide positive supports through and beyond the transition from care. As a foster parent, you can introduce a young person to this tool and help them identify those continuing supports in an effort to build a strong support network.

Step 4

Watch and read how the Juvenile Law Center in Pennsylvania and its "Youth Fostering Change" program developed a "youth-perspective" toolkit for child welfare professionals that helps youth in care achieve permanency. 

Step 5

Review the following post written about the Permanency Pact by Independent Living Outreach Specialist at Children’s Aid Society Ebone Watkins.

Step 6

Review the article "Legal and Relational Permanence in Older Foster Care Youths" from Social Work Today.

Step 7

Join the discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:

How would you explain permanence to your foster youth?

Step 8

Finished the module? If you are logged in as a subscribed user, take the quiz to earn your Continuing Education Credit hours and certificate!

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Course Discussion

angiekes's picture

angiekes said:

Permanency is a certainty that most of these youth are unaccustomed to. I think in some way, that as lost as I felt without knowing God, that's how they feel without having a family. In finding God, I found a comfort, I have never known, and that's probably a little glimpse into what they find in a family.
huntx6's picture

huntx6 said:

Permanence is having a forever family who will love you unconditionally and be there for you always.
blondie7845's picture

blondie7845 said:

I would tell my foster youth that a permanency pact is a personal and permanent commitment to their life a success. It's a place to go for Christmas. It's a bed to sleep in. It's a place to do laundry. It's a listening ear and good advice. It's a place to land when life is uncertain. A permanency pact is a meaningful way to help a young person become a responsible adult.
BaltimoreFosterParent's picture

BaltimoreFoster... said:

Permanency is having the connections of a forever family. It can be legal permanency or providing the resources that are normally associated with families that they provide for one another.
szelesta85's picture

szelesta85 said:

I would describe permanency to my foster child by telling them its a pact between them and an adult that would help them in any way possible and have a relationship with them as a family
davehair's picture

davehair said:

I would explain permanence as giving someone unconditional love and support no matter what.
SamiNic0803's picture

SamiNic0803 said:

We would explain to the children the best we could about what has happened and to let them know we would like to adopt them and make this a permanent situation/home for them.
VickyR's picture

VickyR said:

Let her know we are always going to be here for her. Even after she ages out.
cstp009's picture

cstp009 said:

I would explain permanency by talking to them about the idea of never ending love and support, the concept of being a part of a family is about more than blood ties.
brett2634's picture

brett2634 said:

Having a sense of stability even after foster care. Having people permanently in place to support you as you learn to do life as an adult. They can have different capacities in your life, but they are all permanent and reliable.