What is Permanency?

definition of permanency

Why Permanency is important

What is Permanency?

The goal of permanency is to ensure that every child has a permanent family whereby that person is in a safe, stable, nurturing environment with relationships that are intended to last for a lifetime. 

The formal definition of permanency is “an enduring family that provides a safe, stable and life-long committed relationship that promotes full family membership; the child or youth has a sense of belonging and affiliation to a family/extended family with significant community connections and provides for physical, emotional, social, cognitive, cultural, and spiritual well-being.”

Importance of Permanency

Being part of a family is vital for any child to thrive and develop. Having a network of positive and permanent social relationships as youth means that as adults they are more likely to have higher self-esteem and have a greater sense of well-being.

Permanency is even more important for children and youth who may have experienced adverse childhood experiences. Many children who have been in the child welfare system often come from difficult and complex situations. These situations may include experiences of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  

Being in care and aging out of care pose risk factors for children and youth. Aging out of care increases the risk of dropping out of school, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, reliance on social assistance, contact with the criminal justice system, mental illness, and poor health outcomes. 

Youth from the group Youth Speak Out have identified the importance of a permanent family as their number one priority. They have said that Permanency is crucial for children/youth to navigate the world successfully.

Young people who moved less while in care...

  • Had fewer mental health diagnoses (compared to those who moved more)
  • Were more likely to be employed
  • Were more likely to have enough money to pay their bills and buy needed clothes