What does Permanency look like?
We define permanency as a safe, stable, emotionally-secure parenting relationship, ideally one that is legally recognized.
Plummer’s primary objective is for the highest possible percentage of youth discharging to a safe, stable, emotionally secure parenting relationship despite 100% of them entering our care without one.
Our Intervention & Outcomes model helps empower youth and evaluate our own effectiveness.
Why is Permanency important?
A youth.gov summary of foster care youth data highlights the life-long impact that trauma and disruptive events have on young people. Youth who age out of foster care without a permanent family or support network are more likely to face:
- Unstable housing or homelessness
- Lack of secondary or post-secondary education
- Limited work experience and opportunities
- Higher incidence of both physical and behavioral health problems
- Increased likelihood of court involvement stemming from all the above challenges
How do we do it? Proven Permanency Practices
Plummer combines three nationally-recognized best practices for all youth in our services, regardless of age or circumstance:
Family Search and Engagement
Too often, by the time young people arrive at Plummer, they have spent so long in the system that they have become very isolated from their families. We find and engage parents and family members to decrease the loneliness youth may be feeling, strengthen their sense of identity and belonging, increase their family network, and develop a safe, emotionally secure, permanent parenting relationship. When there is no biological family able to provide that relationship, we recruit new families.
Youth-Guided, Family-Driven Teaming
It is critical that our youth participate and actively guide planning for family relationships and their future. Plummer helps to build a team around each young person. Teams include parents, relatives, and other caring adults, as well as professionals. Our teaming approach addresses all areas of youth safety, permanency, and well-being, and it aims to build a network of lifelong relationships that continue after the youth exits the system. By building a bench of teammates (especially unpaid team members), we can identify roles and set expectations that create a network around youth.
Youth who have spent the majority of their childhood in the foster care system often think they do not want or need a family. So just getting a young person comfortable with the idea of family is a big hurdle. Next, we must prepare a youth and a family to live together, which requires practice, role-playing, and setting fair expectations for all. Practicing being a family is essential to achieving long-term results.
“[T]he single most common factor for children who end up doing well is having the support of at least one stable and committed relationship with a parent, caregiver, or other adult.”
– The Harvard Center on the Developing Child