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Understanding the Permanency Process

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Why Permanency is Important

Being conscious of permanency for the children we work with is vital.

We need to make permanency an urgent priority because:

Attachment and Permanency

The most crucial phase of attachment between child and parent is during the first year. During this year, a child develops a knowing partnership with his or her parent(s).

Positive attachment promotes a child's ability to experience and reach permanency.

Negative or disorganized attachment hinders a child's ability to experience or reach permanence.

Graphic showing a circle with alternating Impermanence and attachment problems

Attachment and permanency are inseparable concepts, coexisting in a delicate balance. Each one affects the other for better or worse.

Stability is NEVER Permanency

The concepts of stability and permanency have often been used interchangeably in child welfare practice.

However, they are NEVER the same. Please do not allow yourself to substitute one for the other.

Case example

A youth who lived in the same foster home for 6 years turned 18 and wanted to leave the foster care system. The caseworker was asked to transport him from his foster home to the place where he would be starting his adult life. The caseworker drove to the young man’s foster home; he put his things in the car and said his goodbyes. They then drove to an adult homeless shelter. The caseworker knew the decision for the young man to leave his foster home was a mutual one between him and the foster parents. He had no family connections and never saw the foster family again after the move. In this young man’s case record was much praise for this placement for its stability over 6 years. Yet, this placement was never permanent.

Stability is NEVER Permanency.

The previous case is an example of how stability does not mean permanency. Although a stable home is not bad thing, caseworkers need to constantly attend to the child’s more vital need for a life-long permanent family connection.

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