Vol. 19, No. 1 November 2014
Permanence for Older Youth in Foster Care
Permanence. We talk about it all the time in the foster care system. It’s in our laws. It’s in our policy. It’s discussed in court and in case planning.
At the same time, foster care’s relationship with permanence is a little strange. In a way, they’re opposites. If you’re in foster care, you do not have permanence, at least not from a legal standpoint.
Yet foster care is a road to permanence for many children, whether that means returning home to their families, adoption, or something else.
Permanence has a huge influence on a young person’s sense of self, well-being, and the trajectory their lives. It's something we all need to survive and thrive.
This is true even for older youth in foster care. Like all teens, these young people are on the cusp of independence. Many yearn to live on their own. But they need enduring connections to people who will always be there for them just as much as younger children. The need for belonging and support is lifelong.
That’s why, in this issue of Fostering Perspectives, we focus on finding permanence for older youth in foster care.