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“Permanency is Possible!”. Promoting Permanency in Challenging Cases. Children’s Home Society of NC. Mission Statement. To promote the right of every child to a permanent, safe, and loving family. Learning Objectives. D efine physical, emotional, and legal permanence

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permanency is possible

“Permanency is Possible!”

Promoting Permanency in Challenging Cases


Children’s Home Society of NC

Mission Statement

To promote the right of every child to a permanent, safe, and loving family.

learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • Define physical, emotional, and legal permanence
  • Understand the importance of a “Permanency is Possible” mindset
  • Learn how programs such as Family Finding and Child Specific Recruitment have created permanency options in “impossible” cases
  • Learn questions to ask to help move the case toward permanency
defining permanence
Defining Permanence
  • Legal
  • Emotional
  • Relational

“Healthy development depends on the quality and reliability of a young child’s relationships with the important people in his or her life, both within and outside the family. Even the development of a child’s brain architecture depends on the establishment of these relationships.” 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1. Berscheid, E., & Reis, H.T. (1998). Attraction and close relationships. In D.T. Gilbert, S.T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology, Vol. 1 (2nd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 2. Collins, W.A., & Laursen, B. (1999). Relationships as developmental contexts. The Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, Vol. 30. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 3. Dunn, J. (1993). Young children’s close relationships: Beyond attachment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. 4. Reis, H.T., Collins,W.A. & Berscheid, E. (2000). Relationships in human behavior and development. Psychological Bulletin, 126(6), 844-872. 5. Dawson, D. , & Fischer, K.W. (Eds.) (1994). Human behavior and the developing brain. New York: Guilford Press. 6. Panksep, J. (1998). Affective neuroscience. New York: Oxford.

permanence is based on
Permanence is based on…
  • Intent
  • Unconditional commitment
  • Lifelong, mutual support and involvement
  • Intimacy and belonging
aging out of foster care
Aging Out of Foster Care
  • In one national study reported by Child Trends, 38% of youth aging out of foster care had emotional problems
  • 50% had used illegal drugs
  • 25% were involved with the legal system
  • Only 48% had graduated from high school
  • Only 54% had graduated from high school two to four years after discharge
  • As adults, children who spent long periods of time in multiple foster care homes were more likely than others to encounter problems such as unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration, as well as to experience early pregnancy.

* Child Trends (2012). Foster Care. Retrieved from

permanence for all youth
Permanence for all youth

Common characteristics of cases in which permanence seems “impossible.”

  • significant behavioral issues
  • medical issues
  • developmental disability
  • history of sexual abuse or perpetration
  • teens
  • sibling groups
  • no family

Case study:


permanency is possible mindset
“Permanency is Possible” Mindset
  • Grounded in reality
  • Infused with hope
  • Cultivated with intention
5 building blocks
5 Building Blocks
  • Consider biases and myths.
    • The child is better off away from family.
    • “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
    • There is no family.
    • The child doesn’t want family.
    • The child doesn’t want
    • to be adopted.
5 building blocks1
5 Building Blocks
  • Recognize that people can change.
  • View barriers as hurdles, not walls.
  • Refuse to give up.
  • Be a bearer of hope - hope is contagious!

“People say kids my age are hard to placeand that time is running out for me.Please don’t give up on trying.I’m already having trouble holding on to my hope.”

a permanency toolkit
A Permanency Toolkit
  • Legislation that supports the work
      • The Fostering Connections to Success And Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.
      • The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011
  • NC LINKS program
  • A Family For Every Child Initiative
    • Adoption Promotion Fund
    • Permanency Innovation Initiative
    • Oversight Committee
a permanency toolkit1
A Permanency Toolkit
  • Talk with the youth
    • Don’t assume someone else has asked the questions
    • Make sure youth understands the options
    • Use the right language
    • It’s never too late to talk about family
    • Unlocking the “no” of permanency
permanency toolkit
Permanency Toolkit
  • Questions to ask
    • Legal permanence
        • Has the child been asked what his/her placement preference is?
        • Ask the parents and child, in a developmentally appropriate manner, to identify relatives and possible placement and family resources.
        • Have both paternal and maternal relatives been identified and notified?
permanency toolkit1
Permanency Toolkit
  • Questions to ask
    • Emotional/Relational permanence
      • Ask the child about family members and other significant adults who are important, or who have been important to the youth in the past.
      • Does the child have contact with siblings and other family members?
      • What can be done to enhance the child’s connections?
permanency toolkit2
Permanency Toolkit
  • Foster Care Children’s Bill of Rights
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Become a permanency “expert!”
    • Adoption resources
    • Wendy’s Wonderful Kids/CSR
    • Family Finding
child specific recruitment
Child Specific Recruitment
  • Wendy’s Wonderful Kids model
  • Referred children
    • those who have been waiting the longest, 50% have been in foster care more than 4 years
    • 70% older than age 8
    • 30% have had six or more placements
  • 9583 served nationally, 6295 have been matched and 3660 have finalized adoptions.
child specific recruitment1
Child Specific Recruitment
  • Children’s Home Society
    • 8 year partnership with 24 DSS counties
    • Since 2006, 367 children have been served
    • 50% of those children have been adopted or are currently matched with an adoptive family.
family finding
Family Finding
  • A model developed by Kevin Campbell in the mid 1990s that offers methods and strategies (in six steps) to locate and engage family members of children living in out of home care.
  • The goal of Family Finding is to provide each youth with the lifelong connections that only a family can offer.
history of family finding
History of Family Finding
  • Came about as a result of Kevin Campbell’s work with elderly adults at Catholic Social Services in Washington State
  • He searched for an analog on which to base his model – an organization that successfully works with large numbers of people – the International Committee of the Red Cross (food, shelter, medicine, family connections)
core beliefs
Core Beliefs

Core beliefs inherent in this approach are:

  • Every child has a family.
  • Loneliness can be devastating and particularly felt by foster children.
  • Meaningful connections to family help a child develop a sense of belonging.
  • The single most identified factor contributing to positive outcomes for children involves meaningful connections and lifelong relationships.
family finding values
Family Finding Values
  • Safety
  • Rethinking Family
  • Permanence
  • Restoration of Dignity
  • Collaboration
chs family finding pilot project july 2008 june 2011
CHS Family Finding Pilot Project July 2008 – June 2011

CHS provided Family Finding services in three North Carolina counties from 2008-2011 through the pilot project funded by the Duke Endowment.

family finding at chs july 2011 june 2014
Family Finding at CHSJuly 2011-June 2014
  • Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is providing funding for three years targeting Family Finding program expansion. The Social Innovation Fund and Duke Endowment are also funding partners.
  • CHS uses a “specialized worker” model, employing skilled professionals whose sole responsibility is Family Finding.
  • 5-7 cases per worker (may include sibling groups).
  • The time frame for each case is 3-5 months, although it may take longer.
the six step model
The Six Step Model
  • Discovery
  • Engagement
  • Planning
  • Decision Making
  • Evaluation
  • Follow Up Supports
case study
Case Study

The Triplets:

Andria: first born

Audry: second born

Andrae: third born

In foster care since March 2008

Living at a residential care facility at referral

Family Finding occurred June – October 2009

steps 1 2 discovery and engagement
Steps 1 & 2: Discovery and Engagement

Initial interview with DSS Social Worker

Identified 12 known relatives / adult connections.

Initial meeting with the youth (as a group, and individually)

Identified several additional relatives, some deceased, most last names unknown.

Reviewed the DSS case file

Conducted Internet searches

Filmed of the Family Finding Chronicle Video

Calls / visits / letters to known connections to continue to answer the question “How big is the family tree?”

step 3 planning
Step 3: Planning

GOAL of the Blended Perspectives Meeting:

Focus on the emotional state of each youth resulting from lack of family connectedness and the need for acceptance, safety, and committed unconditional love.

Five Attendees: Two Maternal Aunts, Maternal First Cousin, Paternal Grandmother, Paternal Great Aunt.

Update from the social worker

Viewed Family Finding Chronicle Video

Family Strengths, Youth’s Strengths, Youth’s Needs

Greatest Unmet Needs Statement: “We believe that the youth need non-judgmental, supportive family that will love and support them unconditionally.”

step 4 decision making
Step 4: Decision Making

GOAL of the Decision Making Meeting:

To discuss ways in terms of unconditional committed love, acceptance and safety, each family member plans to continuously and consistently participate in the siblings lives and support other family members’ commitments.

Reviewed the Family Strengths, Unmet Needs, and the Greatest Unmet Needs Statement.

Identified a Family Leader

Identified Legal and Relational Permanency Plans

Planned a Sweet 16 birthday celebration!

steps 5 6 evaluation and follow up supports
Steps 5 & 6: Evaluation and Follow-up Supports

The team will have supported the child and their family to plan for and access essential formal and informal supports.

Maternal Aunt as a legal caregiver

Access to therapy to address grief and loss, healthy eating habits and anger management.

The team will emphasize natural and community supports that are the most normative and enduring.

Continued family gatherings and opportunities to build relationships with family members

Family Team Leader included in CFT and other important team meetings


Total # of known relatives or other resources at referral: 12

Total # of known relatives/resources with current connections at referral: 5

Total # of relatives/resources discovered during Family Finding 81

Total # of relatives resources stating commitment to ongoing connectedness: 9

Total # of relatives/resources interested in being considered for permanency: 3


Permanency is Possible!

permanency resources
Permanency Resources
  • Children’s Home Society 1-800-632-1400

Family Engagement and Permanency Services training


Kevin Campbell, Founder - National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness

thank you
Thank You

Professional Training Team

Children’s Home Society

(800) 632-1400