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 your foster youth towards building and strengthening relationships with supportive people in their life.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • The importance of permanency in the life of a foster youth
  • How young people in foster care think about permanency
  • The different types of permanent relationships and understand their roles
  • 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
  • Permanency comes with responsibility from all people involved – including the youth

Step 1

Watch the video, What Does Permanency Mean?, developed by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation to gain insight into what permanency means to foster youth:

Step 2

Review the Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau’s interview regarding permanency with a FosterClub Young Leader - Amber Finet - from the Children’s Bureau Express.

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 an 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?

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Course Discussion

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.