Permanency is the ultimate goal for children and youth in care, where they transition to safe and legally permanent families.
A Framework for Permanency
Guided by a value for family, we approach our permanency work from a framework reflective of both cultural and family values. Over the years, our focus groups have suggested that only when a family is ready to make the choice of adoption or guardianship, will it be lasting. This foundational value of choice is reflected in a permanency framework that operates concurrently with casework.
In kinship care, the family constellation can only shift when the family has reconciled the same. For example, when grandma wants to just be grandma, the legal structure that forces her to sever the legal rights of her son or daughter may not be the best fit for her. That opportunity for choice allows her to see permanency through her own lens and just be grandma, favorably exiting the system through an alternate route, such as subsidized guardianship.
The framework has five practices:
- We create a casework mindset where permanency is valued.
- We work intentionally with the kinship triad (i.e., child/youth, caregiver and birth family) in our pursuit of permanency.
- We use an integrated engagement model to strengthen permanency work.
- We use a phased strategy called Steps to Permanency (STP) to broaden our permanency services.
- We apply a specialized model of permanency to address the needs of older youth.
ASCI acts as the interface between the triad and the permanency option of their choice. We provide information to educate the triad on permanency options and offer support in order to ensure communication among members of the triad. Our Point of Contact caseworker is the central broker. Services include:
Family and Children Together (FACT) reunification program. A specialist provides intensive services to birth parents to attain the necessary goals needed to achieve reunification with their children.
The Family Service and Transportation (FST) worker is typically already in a relationship with members of the triad. As such, they are better able to distribute information and obtain documents needed for permanency services.
Through the Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN), we assist the family with the formal processes related to adoption.
Subsidized Permanent Legal Custodianship (SPLC) is similar to adoption; however, parental rights are not terminated. If the family selects this service, it is coordinated between ASCI and the Department of Human Services (DHS).