Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Group Living Services (PA-GLS) 7: Child Permanency

The agency participates in or facilitates permanency planning to promote physical, emotional, and legal permanence for children.

Interpretation

When the agency is not responsible for facilitating permanency planning, it should document all participation in the process and any efforts to connect children to positive relationships with significant adults. 

In addition, agencies should demonstrate their role in supporting timely permanency planning through regular case record documentation and official reports provided to the local child welfare agency or the court which comment on children’s and/or families’ progress towards permanency goal(s).


Interpretation

The permanency planning process for American Indian and Alaska Native children and families must always involve tribal representatives and service providers to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act’s placement preferences and support culturally responsive planning that recognizes and incorporates tribal definitions of permanency and tribal perspectives of the best interests of the child into the permanency plan. To facilitate full participation, the agency must ensure that the tribe or local Indian agency receives timely notification of court or administrative case reviews, and is informed of any changes made to the permanency plan.
NA The agency does not provide out-of-home care for children in the custody of a public agency.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.
Note: Permanency planning often occurs in conjunction with service planning.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for permanency planning
  • Procedures for finding and engaging kin
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include: 
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Residents and their families
  • Review case records

PA-GLS 7.01

Permanency planning:
  1. occurs with families and the team of people that support them, including out-of-home care providers, service providers, and extended family members or other supportive individuals identified by the family, as appropriate;
  2. is scheduled at times when appropriate parties can attend; and
  3. is child-driven, with children actively involved in every stage of the process as appropriate to their age and developmental level.
Examples: Child-driven permanency planning can include, but is not limited to, involving children in:
  1. conversations about what permanency means to them;
  2. the discovery of extended family and other significant adults; and
  3. the formation of a permanency team that will support their desired outcomes and have an ongoing role in their lives.

PA-GLS 7.02

The agency collaborates with children, parents, and the local child welfare agency to identify, notify, and engage relatives and other close, supportive adults that can be resources or supports for placement and permanency for children of all ages, regardless of whether or not they currently wish to be adopted.
Examples: Procedures for identification of kin may include:
  1. engaging children and family members in identification;
  2. conducting a thorough review of the case record;
  3. using technological resources for family-finding; 
  4. providing notification in family members’ preferred languages; and
  5. providing notifications in multiple forms, including written form.

PA-GLS 7.03

Concurrent planning is documented and includes:
  1. early, preliminary, and reasoned assessment of the potential for reunification, the best interests of the child, and the need for an alternative plan;
  2. full disclosure to involved parties of all permanency options, including expectations, implications, available supports, and legal timelines;
  3. joining a resource family that is prepared to develop a life-long relationship with the child; and
  4. counseling parents about relinquishment and alternative permanency options if needed.

Interpretation

The age of a child should not limit the consideration of all permanency options.

PA-GLS 7.04

Permanency plans document:
  1. permanency goals;
  2. why goals are in the best interest of children and their well-being;
  3. why other permanency options are not appropriate; and
  4. how service plans and identified interventions support permanency and child well-being.

Fundamental Practice

PA-GLS 7.05

In compliance with applicable law and regulation, legal permanency planning occurs with children and families according to the following standard timeframes:
  1. within 60 days of placement a court-determined permanency plan is developed;
  2. at least every six months a court or administrative review of progress towards permanency occurs;
  3. within 12 months of placement, and every 12 months thereafter, a permanency hearing evaluates the permanency goal and determines the need for an alternative goal; and
  4. after a child has been in placement for 15 of the most recent 22 months, a legally-exempted permanency decision is made or proceedings are initiated for the termination of parental rights.

Interpretation

The length of time a child has been in care cannot be the only justification for terminating parental rights. In order to support parents that are actively making progress towards reunification but need more time, the agency can work with the public authority to determine a compelling reason for not filing for the termination of parental rights. Whenever possible, the permanency timeline for parents with substance use conditions should reflect the time needed to receive substance use treatment services and make progress towards recovery. The mental health status and readiness of the child should also be taken into consideration when assessing permanency goals.

Interpretation

Regarding element (d), federal law permits American Indian and Alaska Native families to move forward with a customary adoption, without terminating parental rights. Customary adoptions, approved or adjudicated by the tribal court, are arranged through custom and tradition and allow for the transfer of custody while preserving parental rights.

Other circumstances that preclude termination of parental rights when the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child include: placement with extended family per ICWA placement preferences; transfer of jurisdiction to the tribal court; insufficient provision of “active efforts” to support reunification; and inability to satisfy the legal requirements for termination of parental rights under ICWA.
NA The agency only provides services to children in which there is no dependency/family court involvement.

PA-GLS 7.06

Case records document efforts made to support parents toward reunification, including:
  1. involvement in assessment, service planning and service selection;
  2. access to needed services and supports, including both formal and informal community resources;
  3. ongoing, constructive, and progressive contact with their children; and
  4. reduction of barriers to contact and involvement in the child’s care.

Interpretation

When the agency is working with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, the Indian Child Welfare Act requires active efforts be provided to prevent family breakup. Active efforts require affirmative, thorough, timely, and culturally responsive engagement with families to satisfy the case plan by accessing resources and services and partnering with the tribe. Early consultation with the child’s tribe is critical to ensuring that a full range of resources have been made available to the family and that active effort requirements are fulfilled. Agencies may work with tribal leadership, elders, religious figures, or professionals with expertise concerning the given tribe to determine culturally responsive active efforts and identify culturally appropriate services for the family.
NA The agency does not provide services to parents.