CHILD WELFARE MANUAL

Section 4, Chapter 8 (Permanent Outcomes), Subsection 5 – Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement

Effective Date:  5-1-19

 

Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) is meant to be a planned permanent placement with a person that has a strong connection and bond with the child. The child must be 16 years of age or older to choose this permanency option.

Choosing this option is appropriate when there is a specific, long-term placement for the child and when it has been documented to the court that compelling reasons exist which make the other permanency options unacceptable. The compelling reasons must be clearly identified and documented in FACES.

As with Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative, APPLA is not a legal final permanency option. Therefore, the court must continue to hold annual permanency hearings until such time that the court enters a legal final permanency order reunification, adoption, or guardianship) or the child reaches age 21. The case manager shall continue to schedule regular PPRT meetings and provide support services as identified by the FST/PPRT.

A goal APPLA should be selected as the most appropriate permanency option under these circumstances:

  • The child objects to TPR, and the juvenile court and/or Division believes it is in the best interest of the child not to pursue termination
  • Adoption has been ruled out
  • Guardianship or transfer of custody has been ruled out
  • Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative has been ruled out
  • There is an identified appropriate planned permanent living arrangement in which the child wishes to continue living
  • All possible additional services are explored with the child and/or the placement provider to provide permanency
  • The child is age 16 or older

The out-of-home care provider will make a formal Planned Permanency Agreement with the Division for this purpose.

NOTE: Ruling out more permanent options based only on a child’s age is contrary to the goals of ASFA. Individual determinations about each child’s needs and circumstances are necessary.

Criteria for Continuation of APPLA as a Permanency Option
For youth with a goal of APPLA, for the case review and the continued approval of the case plan for the youth, the Children’s Service Worker must do the following:

  • Document steps taken to ensure the youth’s out-of-home care provider is following the reasonable and prudent parenting standard
  • Consult with the youth, in an age appropriate manner, about the opportunities and activities he/she could participate in regards to extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities;
  • Document at each permanency hearing for the youth per PL113-103, the intensive, ongoing, unsuccessful efforts made for family placement including returning home, securing a placement for the youth with a fit and willing relative (including adult siblings), a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent. Efforts should include search technology (including social media) to find biological family members for the youth and should be as of the date of the hearing

At each permanency hearing, the appropriateness of the placement will be re-determined by the court by ascertaining the permanency plan for the youth through the following:

  • Youth is asked about the desired permanency outcome for him/her;
  • The judicial determination explains why as of the date of the hearing, another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the youth;
  • Compelling reasons are provided why it continues to not be in the best interests of the youth to:
    • return home
    • be placed for adoption;
    • be placed with a legal guardian; or
    • be placed with a fit and willing relative.
  • There is evidence of support for engaging the youth in age or developmentally appropriate activities and social events:
    • The youth’s out-of-home care provider is following the reasonable and prudent parenting standard and
    • The youth has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities (including consultation with the youth in an age appropriate manner).

Permanency Pact   

A Permanency Pact should be completed whenever either of the two permanency options, Placement with a Fit and Willing Relative or Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA), is selected for a youth. The purpose of the Permanency Pact is to identify permanent supports for the youth who will continue to play a permanent role in the youth’s life. Establishing permanency is a federal requirement and a guiding principle of the Children’s Division.

It is critical to the youth’s success to identify those adults who will continue to provide various supports through and beyond the transition from care. Clarifying exactly what the various supports will include can help to avoid gaps in the youth’s safety net and misunderstandings between the youth and the supportive adult.

The Permanency Pact is a tool to be used for the ongoing conversation regarding permanency planning. It is a pledge by a supportive adult to provide specific supports to a young person in foster care. Developed by FosterClub, the Pact provides the structure that is needed to help both youth and adults establish a positive, kin-like relationship. It is important that both the youth and the permanent connection identified understands their involvement with the youth. Youth transitioning from foster care are often unsure about who they can count on for ongoing support. Many of their significant relationships with adults have been based on professional connections which will terminate once the transition from care is completed.

A Permanency Pact provides:

  • structure and a safety net for the youth
  • a defined and verbalized commitment by both parties to a long term supportive relationship
  • clarity regarding the expectations of the relationship

A Permanency Pact creates a formalized, facilitated process to connect youth in foster care with a supportive adult. The process of bringing the supportive adult together with youth and developing a pledge or “Permanency Pact” has proven successful in clarifying the relationship and identifying mutual expectations. A committed, caring adult may provide a lifeline for a youth, particularly those who are preparing to transition out of foster care to life on their own.

Participants in a Permanency Pact

In addition to the two primary parties in a Permanency Pact (the youth and the supportive adult), it is recommended that a Facilitator assist in developing the Pact.

The Facilitator may be a Case Worker, Resource Provider or other adult who:

  • is knowledgeable in facilitating Permanency Pacts
  • is familiar with the youth, and
  • can provide insight into the general needs of the youth transitioning from care

The Supportive Adult is an adult who:

  • has been identified by the youth
  • has a relationship with the youth
  • is willing to commit to a life-long relationship with the youth
  • is a positive role-model, and
  • is able to provide the youth with specific support on an on-going basis

The Facilitator then:

  • makes initial contact with the identified adult(s)
  • updates them regarding the youths current situation
  • gauges their level of interest
  • assists the adult in identifying possible supports they will provide, and
  • schedules and facilitates the Permanency Pact meeting

Working with the Supportive Adult, the Facilitator can use the list of 45 Suggested Supports to draft a list of supports that the adult wishes to offer the youth. The list is then presented to the youth who will acknowledge the offer and accept those supports that they feel would be most beneficial. Additional supports may be suggested by either the youth or the supportive adult. The final list may then be hand written on the Permanency Pact available in e-forms. The youth and Supportive Adult sign the Pact and the Facilitator provides a witness signature.

Copies of the Permanency Pact are provided to the youth, the Supportive Adult and maintained in the case record. All other members of the youth’s Permanency Planning/Family Support Team receive copies of the Permanency Pact. Taking a step toward trusting a relationship is often a very great accomplishment for a youth with a background where relationships are broken, promises are often not kept, and disappointment in caretakers prevails. The gift that a Supportive Adult contributes by way of a life-long commitment to the relationship is heroic. The impact of the forged relationship may be profound to all parties.