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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

‘Permanent parents for teens’ project, United States

Focus 12: Preparation for leaving care and aftercare support 

The project used a ‘social capital building’ model to achieve permanence for young people at risk of ageing out of care unconnected to permanent families. The goal of the project was to find permanent parents for young people in care. The project model consisted of a combination of specialised case-work activity and parent education and training. A ‘child-specific recruitment approach’ was used in which family permanency advocates would work with the young person to identify significant others (kin, friends, acquaintances) in their life with whom they had a constructive relationship and who could potentially be a permanent placement for them. Once prospective families had been identified, parent education was delivered to prepare new families for unconditional commitment to teens and to increase the receptivity of trained families for youth placement in the future.

The project was highly successful in terms of permanency outcomes. Of the 199 young people referred to the programme, the majority of whom were living in residential care, 98 young people (almost 50%) were permanently placed into family homes by the end of the project period (Avery 2010). The evaluation found that the strategy of family placement used in the project and the dual strategy of child- specific recruitment and focused parenting training were primarily responsible for the high placement rate.  

For more information visit: http://yougottabelieve.org/about-us/our-story/

Also see: Avery, R.J. (2010). An examination of theory and promising practice for achieving permanency for teens before they age out of foster care, Children and Youth Services Review , 32, 399-408.  doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2009.10.011

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID