The desired outcome for children and youth in the child welfare system is legal permanency — either through reunification with biological parents or with a stable, permanent family through adoption or legal guardianship. By developing healthy relationships and long-lasting connections with caring adults, children and youth can thrive in nurturing and supportive environments that provide a sense of belonging and safety, this sense of connection translates into relational permanence.
The County of Orange Social Services Agency, in partnership with Casey Family Programs, a nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of children and families involved in the child welfare system, is placing further emphasis on permanency through the “Permanency is Home” initiative. In an effort to promote a permanency-driven culture, the Agency will set goals to decrease the time to legal permanency, understand and remove barriers to both legal and relational permanency and strengthen post-permanency support. The Agency seeks to focus efforts to ensure every child has a place to call home and important long-term relationships that help each child/youth feel loved and connected – relationships with brothers and sisters, family friends and extended family, and former foster family members. Ideally, each youth exiting foster care without legal permanence will have lifelong connections, including at least one adult who will provide a permanent, parent-like connection for that youth.
Permanency can be achieved by focusing on the pillars of permanency: