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

BillandAmyLittlefield's picture

BillandAmyLittl... said:

Having had previous foster children who either aged out or returned to their biological families after leaving foster care, we talk about permanency as they can still contact us any time day/night and we will help them no matter how old they get. Several of them now have children of their own and they live states away from us, yet we get the middle of the night phones calls, text messages, instant messages on Facebook that they have questions or need ideas on how to deal with things. We travel to see them as if they were still in our care and treat them still as our children and part of our family, and their children as our grandchildren now. Permanency is that they will always have a place in your heart and mind and you will always remember them and think of them. They need to know that as much as you have impacted their lives, they will continue to impact yours. Remind them that even as they are grown, you are thankful for meeting them and being able to be a part of their lives. Family isn't blood, family is choice and we choose to remain linked to our family no matter how old, mature, or physically far away from us they are. Those kids have impacted our lives too and we are grateful for them.
mullen0928's picture

mullen0928 said:

It is a place not only to call home but it is a safe haven, a place to feel love, get stability, and most of all a place to be yourself.
kaylado91's picture

kaylado91 said:

I would explain permanency to a youth by explaining that they would have a permanent home to always come home too. They would have somewhere they can feel safe and secure and know that no matter what they do, they will always be loved.
lizcasement's picture

lizcasement said:

I would tell a young person in foster care that permanence means you have at least one adult that you know you can depend on regardless of your circumstances, emotions or mistakes. Permanence is marked by unconditional love and acceptance from a family, which can be one parent, two parents and/or an entire army of biological, adopted or foster siblings, aunts and uncles!
aweaver's picture

aweaver said:

Permanence means you have an adult or entire family who is there for you no matter what. They provide advice, share meals with you, listen to you, celebrate with you, and support you in all your endeavors. You have their unconditional love, even when you mess up or don't give it back in return.
Laura's picture

Laura said:

Permanency is always having a safe place to land. It can be legal, as through adoption, or it can just be choosing someone to be part of your world, and loving them unconditionally as such.
Rick Daniel's picture

Rick Daniel said:

I tend to communicate with kids (biological, grandkids, foster and neighborhood) by using pictures that can be referred to. Describing permanency, I'd talk about baseball, actually, home plate. My description would tell of how home plate would always be there, whether you struck out or hit a home run. Imagine, standing at home plate, facing what life pitches at you, even when swinging at new adventures, home plate would always be a safe plate. Even if you'd hit a grand slam in life, you'd be cheered when you crossed all of life's bases, but the loudest cheer would come when you reach home plate, safely.