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

jenniferhuckaby's picture

jenniferhuckaby said:

After going through this course, before answering this question, I asked our boys what they thought this meant. To them it means, a loving family, a home for always, mom and dad. To me and to answer them I said, if they ever needed answers about life in general we would be here for them. They would always have a large family to be here for them. If and when we are gone they would have four grown sisters and bother in laws that would always be here for them. Permanence is family, life and love. Now and for always.
KaylaReiter's picture

KaylaReiter said:

Permanency is the process of building a foundation and a life-long connection to someone who is willing to love unconditionally and provide the needs that every child deserves.
gwayns's picture

gwayns said:

Permanency means that I will help you find happiness through family involvement, spending time with you, and being there for you no matter what until death do we part
emmaetoro's picture

emmaetoro said:

it is the forever commitment to care for, love, guide, be there for, nurture, etc., to a youth in the foster care system
Cathy Rigby's picture

Cathy Rigby said:

Permanency needs to be approved by the child, they need to be a part in choosing who they have permanency with.
pjohnson's picture

pjohnson said:

Permanency is a life-long connection to someone who is willing to love unconditionally and provide support in all stages of life.
EmDHall's picture

EmDHall said:

Permanence means that you will have stability, warmth, and love from our family. You will have a lifelong connection with us: always a place to stay and a person to call. It also means that we will commit to keeping up with you as well!
TrentDHall's picture

TrentDHall said:

Permanency is a feeling of security, belonging, and stability in our family. You will always be accepted and loved, and will have no fear of us "putting you out."
Akholden3's picture

Akholden3 said:

Permanency is stability, consistency and someone to turn to. Ideally that is found in a family situation, but where that is not available we need to help youth create those relationships. This can be through an adopted family, someone who will commit to following the youth through their life, or through other types of friendships. I think it is great to lay out concrete steps that can be taken to help youth create permanency, but know that it is never as easy as it is on paper and people mess up. Creating permanency is a long game, takes patience (on both sides) and the willingness to talk about hard things.
penny.wallace's picture

penny.wallace said:

Permanence is stability. Having someone they can depend on and just knowing that there is always someone you can talk to and lean on means the world.