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

leahn91's picture

leahn91 said:

permanence is having a forever family thats loving, caring, and understanding as if you were blood related
amy_davis07's picture

amy_davis07 said:

I would consider permanency to be a loving support system that is there to develop, help, nurture and care for a foster child even after the child moves on from the home.
ahnordstiv's picture

ahnordstiv said:

Permancy could look like a life long pledge between a foster youth and a supportive adult. Permancy is not always adoption and states should recognize that.
yvonne3w's picture

yvonne3w said:

Learning from the youth themselves, I would explain permanency as unconditional love and continuous support, not necessarily legal adoption.
MelissaTurvey's picture

MelissaTurvey said:

I would explain that permanence means unconditional love. No matter what a person does, the support they receive is always there. It is a commitment and the youth is deserving of that. I really connected with the idea that there are two different types of permanence. One is physical or placement and the other relational. Stepping up and making the promise to be a relational permanence figure is just as important for these youth.
angiekes's picture

angiekes said:

Permanency is a certainty that most of these youth are unaccustomed to. I think in some way, that as lost as I felt without knowing God, that's how they feel without having a family. In finding God, I found a comfort, I have never known, and that's probably a little glimpse into what they find in a family.
huntx6's picture

huntx6 said:

Permanence is having a forever family who will love you unconditionally and be there for you always.
blondie7845's picture

blondie7845 said:

I would tell my foster youth that a permanency pact is a personal and permanent commitment to their life a success. It's a place to go for Christmas. It's a bed to sleep in. It's a place to do laundry. It's a listening ear and good advice. It's a place to land when life is uncertain. A permanency pact is a meaningful way to help a young person become a responsible adult.
BaltimoreFosterParent's picture

BaltimoreFoster... said:

Permanency is having the connections of a forever family. It can be legal permanency or providing the resources that are normally associated with families that they provide for one another.
szelesta85's picture

szelesta85 said:

I would describe permanency to my foster child by telling them its a pact between them and an adult that would help them in any way possible and have a relationship with them as a family