Defining and achieving permanency among older youth in foster care

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Permanency is a key child welfare system goal for the children they serve. This study addresses three key research questions: (1) How do older youth in foster care define their personal permanency goals? (2) How much progress have these youth made in achieving their personal permanency goals and other aspects of relational permanency, and how does this vary by gender, race, and age? and (3) What transition-related outcomes are associated with relational permanency achievement? Surveys were conducted with 97 youth between the ages of 14 and 20 currently in care. Over three-fourths of participants had an informal/relational permanency goal; however, only 6.7% had achieved their goal. Of eight additional conceptualizations of relational permanency assessed, the one associated with achievement of the highest number of key transition outcomes was Sense of Family Belonging. The transition outcomes with the most associations with permanency achievement were physical health and mental health. Relational permanency is a highly personal part of the transition process for youth in care, warranting personalized supports to ensure individual youths' goals are being addressed in transition planning. Permanency achievement may also provide a foundation for supporting youth in achieving other key transition outcomes.




Salazar, A. M., Jones, K. R., Amemiya, J., Cherry, A., Brown, E. C., Catalano, R. F., & Monahan, K. C. (2018). Defining and achieving permanency among older youth in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 87, 9–16.

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