Permanency Planning

For additional information, see our webpages on Concurrent Permanency Planning and Youth Permanency (Permanency for Older Youth)

Research and Reports

  • Study Shows Legal Representation of Children Expedites Permanency
    This article discusses an evaluation of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County's Foster Children's Project (FCP) that shows a direct link between legal representation of children in foster care and their permanency outcomes. Data was collected from child welfare records from the Department of Children and Families’ administrative database, juvenile court case files, and interviews with judicial professionals, social workers, youth, and their parents. Findings from the study indicate children represented by FCP have significantly higher rates of achieving permanency; adoption or guardianship was almost three times more likely with children served by FCP; among children represented by FCP, there was significant increase in long-term custody; reunification rates were unchanged; and permanency and the timing of legal milestones were expedited. Suggestions for courts and court professionals are made. Written by Lily Dorman-Colby. American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law’s Child Court Works, v. 10.3. (June 2008)


  • Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children
    The Child Welfare Information Gateway summarizes State laws on the court hearings that must be held to review the status of children placed in out-of-home care. The publication also discusses who may be present at the hearing, what determinations are made at the hearing, and various permanency options. (January 2012)
  • Mama S & Papa M: Making APPLAs Work for Youth 
    Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) can and should be used if the three preferred permanency alternatives (adoption, guardianship, and placement with a relative) are not an option. All youth need a caring, committed adult involved in their lives. Fostering Families Today published this article by Executive Director, Sarah Gerstenzang, describing her personal experience with APPLA and offering suggestions for making APPLAs successful. (May/June 2010)
  • Case Planning Desk Reference for Emergency Situations 
    This reference guide, prepared for the Louisiana Department of Social Services by AdoptUsKids, identifies critical elements for consideration during the decision-making process in disaster situations. Organized by permanency goal, the Desk Reference is formatted as a set of checklists to facilitate ease of use. This tool can be used by any worker seeking guidance in permanency decision-making, regardless of the plan. (December 2006) 
  • Making it Permanent: Reasonable Efforts to Finalize Permanency Plans for Foster Children 
    The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues published this book to aid lawyers, judges, and agency professionals meet the Adoption and Safe Families Act’s (ASFA) “reasonable efforts” requirement. The chapters of this book discuss: determining the permanency plan; assessing reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan, including chapters devoted to reunification, termination of parental rights/adoption, legal guardianship, relative placement, and another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA); and handling interstate placements and securing adoption subsidies. (2002)
  • State Statutes Related to Permanency Planning 
    Search for State statutes for issues related to permanency planning through this resource from the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Results will provide summaries of State statutes (and full text of laws, in some cases).

Resources from the States

  • California: 
    Permanency: A Statewide Approach to Sustainability 
    As part of the 2009 Child Welfare Services Information Kit from The California Child Welfare Co-Investment Partnership, a collaborative group of state agencies, foundations and other nonprofit organizations, this approach uses a consistent permanency framework to bring public, private and cross-system partners together.  The approach also seeks to ensure statewide resources and capacities are developed to support cross-system implementation at the local level. (2009)
  • Minnesota: 
    Practice Guide for Using Long-Term Foster Care

    The Minnesota Department of Human Services developed this guide for placement decision-making specifically focusing on long-term foster care (LTFC). This practice guide identifies conditions in which LTFC will be considered; discusses placement decisions and selection considerations, developing and delivering services, and permanency planning. (2006)

  • Ohio:
    Final Report on the Summit Permanency Collaborative (SPC)
    This final report highlights the Summit Permanency Collaborative (SPC), a permanency program created to address the needs of children at risk for aging out of foster care in Summit County, Ohio.  SPC was a four-year public/private partnership between the Waiting Child Fund, Summit County Children Services, Caring For Kids, Inc., Christian Children’s Home of Ohio, and Summit County CASA/GAL.  The program was successful in achieving the goals of finding permanency for long-staying youth, reducing the number of children who enter Permanent Custody, and establishing a “culture of permanency” within Summit County.  This report includes information on SPC’s history and program development; discusses SPC’s goals and objectives; details outcomes and cost savings analysis; and shares success stories, recommendations, and lessons learned.  (April 2014)
  • Virginia:  Permanency Roundtable (PRT) Summaries
    The NRCPFC developed these summaries as part of the Technical Assistance (TA) provided to the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS).  These documents were produced out of interviews with Permanency Program Consultants and outline the goals, structure, and processes of Permanency Roundtables in the Central and Piedmont regions of Virginia. (April 2013)
  • Washington:
    Permanency Planning Practice Guide for Social Workers
    Developed by the Washington Children’s Administration, this guide for social workers provides practice details on the following: permanency planning options and guidelines for each option; reasonable efforts, as required by the Adoption and Safe Families Act; and other considerations including timeframes for permanency, termination of parental rights, compelling reasons, and concurrent planning. Guiding principles for permanency in youth and strategies for effectively engaging them in permanency planning are also provided. (August 2006)


  • Achieving Permanence for Children: Pioneering Possibilities for Placement Stability 
    In this NRCPFC webcast, Lorrie L. Lutz, a consultant with NRCPFC, discussed CFSR results and findings from a survey of the states designed to learn about barriers to placement stability and promising practices to promote permanency. Shaun Donahue, Director of Field Services in Vermont, described step-by-step how this state achieved significant improvement in foster care placement stability through careful analysis, connecting staff to problem-solving activities, and system change. (November 2005)

PowerPoint Presentations

  • Permanency Discussion
    A presentation by NRCPFC at the Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network Meeting in Washington, DC. This PowerPoint defines permanency, reviews permanency and well-being outcomes, and discusses strategies related to permanency and placement stability. Information is also provided about organizations in the T&TA Network and resources that they offer. (December 2008)
  • Permanency and the Courts: What Courts Can Do to Help Staff and Families Achieve Permanency
    This presentation by Jennifer Renne of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and Honorable Stephen W. Rideout, discusses the role of courts in facilitating timely permanency, permanency planning issues at each stage of the case, collaboration between courts and agencies to achieve timely permanency, how to engage judges, and innovative programs and ideas. (October 2005)
  • Permanency Goal: Another Planned Living Arrangement 
    Jennifer Renne of the Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues prepared this presentation to explain the ASFA permanency option "another planned permanent living arrangement" (APPLA). (August 2003)
  • Exploring Permanency for Youth
    Produced by Gerald P. Mallon, Executive Director of NRCPFC, this presentation discusses the challenges in permanency for youth and gives recommendations for overcoming these barriers. (May 2002)
  • Permanency Planning Framework
    This NRCPFC PowerPoint presentation identifies the components and principles of a permanency planning framework in addition to discussing the various considerations and factors involved in the process. (February 2002)


  • Child Welfare Information Gateway
    • Achieving & Maintaining Permanency
      This section of the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides resources on the various types of permanency options, including family reunification, adoption from foster care, guardianship, and permanency with relatives.  Information is also available regarding legal and court issues, strategies and programs, and permanency for special populations (older youth, children from minority groups, and children with disabilities) and other permanency-related topics.

    • APPLA and Long-Term Foster Care
      The Child Welfare Information Gateway developed this page containing resources and information about two types of out-of-home care settings: another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) and long-term foster care (LTFC).


Last updated 6/17/14