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

EmDHall's picture

EmDHall said:

Permanency is a permanent sense of belonging that, even if it morphs and changes, will never dissolve.
TrentDHall's picture

TrentDHall said:

Permanency is a commitment that will not go away, even as circumstances change.
rdaniel's picture

rdaniel said:

I would explain that permanence is unconditional love and love that will be in action. To make it clear to the foster youth, that he/she is apart of the family. Furthermore, explaining that we're in this together and to be available as a guide every step of the way. Then, state, as a matter of fact, that bumps and bruises are a part of life, however, every challenge is to be faced head-on while maintaining a good attitude.
Gwsingleton's picture

Gwsingleton said:

Permanence is having a forever family that will provide saftey, stability, and love for a lifetime
Tubbsfuss's picture

Tubbsfuss said:

Permanency is a positive connection and support that lasts forever regardless of circumstances. Permanency does not need to be a specific legal standing, such as adoption, but refers to the relationship people have with one another. Having a strong support system of people, adults and peers, who care about you and want what's best for you always provides permanency regardless of their legal standing as guardians.
orlandomendoza's picture

orlandomendoza said:

Permanency for my foster child would be knowing that we as their parents are committed to their well being for their rest of their lives. We want them to know that we will always be there for them if they need us.
leahn91's picture

leahn91 said:

permanence is having a forever family thats loving, caring, and understanding as if you were blood related
amy_davis07's picture

amy_davis07 said:

I would consider permanency to be a loving support system that is there to develop, help, nurture and care for a foster child even after the child moves on from the home.
ahnordstiv's picture

ahnordstiv said:

Permancy could look like a life long pledge between a foster youth and a supportive adult. Permancy is not always adoption and states should recognize that.
yvonne3w's picture

yvonne3w said:

Learning from the youth themselves, I would explain permanency as unconditional love and continuous support, not necessarily legal adoption.