Right From the Start: Everyone Has a Role in Permanency Planning

Room: Cherokee

This two-hour session will focus on how professionals can use their specific role to engage and support youth and families in successful permanency planning. Built upon child welfare’s best practice definition of permanency, participants will be guided in understanding the importance of permanency for all youth in placement.

This session entitled, Right from the Start:  Everyone Has a Role in Permanency Planning will focus on how staff can use their role to engage and support youth and families in successful permanency. Built upon the definition of permanency from national child welfare literature which defines permanency, “ As enduring family relationship that is safe and lifelong; offering the same legal rights and social status of full family member ship; providing for physical, emotional, social, cognitive and spiritual well-being; and assuring lifelong connections to birth and extended family, siblings and other significant adults, family history, and traditions, race and ethnic heritage, culture, religions and language,” we will guide participants in understanding the importance of permanency for all youth in placement and help them to identify one action step for making their best permanency work even better

The session will also introduce staff to Ten Beliefs that ground our work to advance permanency for the children and youth they serve. A preview of these beliefs include: “Start Right Away,” from the first conversations with youth ask them about family connections and what their hopes are for when they leave the care, “Family is the Solution Not the Problem” suggesting that all  families have strengths and we must be able to see their strengths and include them for what they can do, It’s Not All Rainbows and Butterflies,” no family is perfect, we need to value them for what they can do.  A belief directed towards the importance of collaboration, “Talk with Your Team: Good communication is vital,” reminding participants that everyone needs to participate in preparing the youth for permanency. Direct care staff’s daily contact with a youth provides a unique perspective regarding their needs and wishes, sharing this with the youth’s team is important to advancing permanency. “Resilience and Flexibility Are Key,” even when the youth is dismissing their need for family, direct care staff are not giving up on the importance of them having a safe, permanent family. This sampling of beliefs along with others will be discussed to suggest opportunities for staff to use relational moments, conversations, and activities within the milieu to engage youth and their families in their permanency work.

During the session, participants will observe a demonstrated conversation between milieu staff and youth to illustrate the essential role of staff in advancing permanency outcomes for the youth they serve. They will also have an opportunity to apply the ten beliefs that ground the work to a case vignette.

A blend of lecture, discussion, demonstrated conversation and practice activities will be utilized during this interactive session to share the experiences of Plummer Youth Promise’s milieu team in engaging youth and families in permanency planning.


Cheryl Peltier, LSW

Child Welfare Associate , Plummer Youth Promise

Email: cpeltier@plummeryouthpromise.org

Josh Metcalfe, MSW

Residential Program Director , Plummer Youth Promise

Email: jmetcalfe@plummeryouthpromise.org