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

thepadgetts's picture

thepadgetts said:

Permanency is a commitment to a youth to make them be a part of your family, to care for them, guide them and make sure they have all they need to become well adjusted individuals who have all the tools they need to succeed in life.
thepadgetts's picture

thepadgetts said:

Permanency is a commitment to a youth to make them be a part of your family, to care for them, guide them and make sure they have all they need to become well adjusted individuals who have all the tools they need to succeed in life.
djhamilton0108's picture

djhamilton0108 said:

I would tell the foster youth permanence is when you have a family/family member you can trust and depend on. Its when you have that family to help you learn and grow and place, even one within a person, to call home.
djhamilton's picture

djhamilton said:

I would explain permanence to a foster youth as a relationship. One in which you have a person you can trust, depend on to be there for you not just in the bad, but to also celebrate the good. It is being in a relationship where you feel like you belong and are accepted and unconditionally loved. Permanence can be found in someone who is willing to be a life-time connection. It can be an individual or it can be a group of people, or a family.
Tricia49841's picture

Tricia49841 said:

Permanency is mostly about being there for the youth, even when they aren't living in your home any longer
dtbower2003's picture

dtbower2003 said:

The family when you don't need one. I left home at 16. When I left my home, I did not go into the foster system or even become part of the system. I just was on my own and I became estranged from my family. Even today at 40, I start to feel small feelings of I "I am missing a family". My kids do not have the same "grandparent" relationship that others do. We do not have the same supports that other families have from a grandparent family extension. I sometimes feel a little sad for my two boys, but at the end of the day, my husband and I have each other, and our boys, so I do not need to feel sorry for us, we are very blessed in other ways. But, I can certainly relate to the lack of "permancy" in the idea of family, and how it feels to be an adult without the connection. Not the legal document aspect of it, although I can see how that would sometimes, for some, help solidify the feelings of belonging.
roxwhite123's picture

roxwhite123 said:

I would describe permanency as a binding, lifelong commitment between them and a caring adult. Its creating a relationship with a supportive adult that gives them a sense of belonging, stability, and security.
YAYA2's picture

YAYA2 said:

Love, affection, time, attention, enforcing security, safety. Support from love ones, friends and the community.
monicatoejam's picture

monicatoejam said:

Permanence means a lot of things, some of them being, somewhere you feel at home and feel like the people there have unconditional love for you.
Ankromfamily1's picture

Ankromfamily1 said:

I would describe permanency as unconditional love and support through their entire lives, a bond that can't be broken. We can disapprove of people's choices sometimes, but that doesn't mean they are no longer our family members, and permanency is the same thing.