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

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Course Discussion

annaccountant's picture

annaccountant said:

It means you are settled. You have a place. Your past is a part of who you are but it does not define you.
lmacgregor's picture

lmacgregor said:

The last article did a great job differentiating between legal vs, relational, permanency. The focus on legal ties can be detrimental to a foster child. Instead, I would encourage the child to identify and develop those relationships where they feel unconditional love and support. I have told my foster daughter that I will always be there for her, even after she, hopefully, reunifies with her bio family.
kgmcarnahan's picture

kgmcarnahan said:

i'd be afraid to use the word unconditional, but maybe the word stable and consistent relationships.
mikegilmore_2000's picture

mikegilmore_2000 said:

I really like this idea. I may consider this in addition to my relationship with my two foster to adopt sons, fo whom I will always be here. This course did open my eyes to the fears of foster children though about permanency, and that I probably need to over emphasize that I will always be here for them.
lclw8686's picture

lclw8686 said:

Permanency is feeling unconditional love with a sense of know you belong someone and knowing you have someone to count on .
chessieberg's picture

chessieberg said:

With my husband being a teacher and myself a speech therapist, we have encountered one or two teens who either have been in foster care previously or currently who would truly benefit from “the permancy pact.” I would explain it to these children as support for life, help with the big and little things of adulthood, always having a place to call home, and knowing there is someone there to guide you and love you no matter what. I would explain to them that permanence can mean picking up the phone to ask how to fill out a tax form, which kind of oil to put in a vehicle, Little tips for caring for their own children, or even which recipe to use for a meal. Anything one would do for their biological child would be the same in permanence. It is a beautiful connection.
Danielle Paul James's picture

Danielle Paul James said:

Permanence is having someone you can rely on for the rest of your life. This can be legally, emotionally, or (preferably) both.
FaireyCertificationTrainingHours's picture

FaireyCertifica... said:

I would explain that it means we are forever a part of your life. We are willing to be there for you, with you and behind you every step of your journey. Our bond is not temporary, disposable or time limited. As long as you need us and even when you may think you don't, permanency persists. You can never undo with behaviors or distance what we have established together.
chessieberg's picture

chessieberg replied:

I love this description.
cbehney52's picture

cbehney52 said:

I would tell them that permanency means unconditional love from someone even if they are not a bio parent. That nothing they say or do could change the love we have for them and the fact that we will always claim the as our own and they will always have a place to come back to provided their actions aren't endangering their life or someone else life in the home. If their actions are life endangering I would let them know I would do anything in my power to help them get help. If they refuse all my help than their is not much you can do for someone who doesn't want to help until they are ready. In which case I would make it clear that as soon as they wanted help to humble themselves and change for the better they would be welcomed with open arms. The prodigal son was welcomed home, that doesn't mean the father allowed him to carry on his destructive habits. To repent means to turn away and go another direction, not just say sorry.