Permanency is aimed at reunifying children in out-of-home care with their families wherever possible. When family reunification can’t happen, permanency planning efforts then focus on placing children with another legally permanent family. This can include relatives, adoptive families who obtain legal custody, or guardians. Ultimately it is the goal of Lighthouse Foster Care to reunify children with siblings, parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents or other relatives and loved ones wherever possible as this promotes stability and happiness. Sometimes Permanency can be achieved in a staged way, other times it can take time or not at all.
There’s a whole range of ways that permanency is achieved and these are referred to as Permanency events. Some of these events can include:
· Reunification/Restoration of family bonds and ties
· Third party parental placements
· Long term guardianship or custody orders
Recent research on Permanency
While every family and each young person’s circumstances differ, the good news is Permanency does happen and it’s one of the most rewarding things to be a part of. For example of the 6,700 children exiting out-of-home care to a permanency outcome during 2019–20, around 5,300 were reunified with family, 1,200 were placed in a third-party parental care arrangement and 162 were adopted.
Of the children in out-of-home care on 30 June 2020, who had been in care for at least 2 years, 82% (25,200) were on long-term guardianship orders.
Government commitments to achieving Permanency nationally
In Australia, most states and territories prioritise specific permanency-related actions and timeframes in children’s case planning. By incorporating permanency goals into a child’s case planning, jurisdictions can actively seek the most suitable immediate placement, while preparing for long-term care arrangements and better developmental outcomes. The timeframe for reunification varies across jurisdictions, but for most jurisdictions, if a child is not reunified within 2 years then a long-term, stable placement is typically pursued.
Source of statements, figures and data: Child Protection Australia 2019-20