Purpose and Objective
Permanency is defined as children having safe, stable, and permanent families who support their healthy growth and development. This stability is disrupted when a child experiences abuse or neglect, is removed from the care of their parent, and enters the child protection system. Reestablishing permanency in a timely manner is very important to the child’s ongoing development.
Currently, there are no national court-related standards for length of time to permanency. However, as part of the Child and Family Services Reviews the Children’s Bureau has identified performance measures and standards for time to permanency that includes 12-months for reunification, 18-months for guardianship, and 24-months for adoption. The Children’s Justice Initiative (CJI) is leading a project which focuses on the progression of cases from contact to closure as they move toward permanency, focusing on cases that are beyond or most at risk of not meeting the Judicial Branch Timing Objectives outlined in Judicial Council Policy 505.1.
This project is currently in the pilot phase in two Minnesota counties. County participation was determined based on interest and current length of time to permanency data. Each participant team is formed by the county and includes representatives from all child protection stakeholder groups.
The pilot is expected to run for two years; however, it is possible additional counties may be added once initial success can be determined.
Permanency Performance Measure Goals
The goal of this project is more children reaching permanency in a timely manner by identifying and changing local county practices that have historically led to permanency delays. Long term change will include increased accountability for ensuring timely permanency for children, which will be reflected in each participating county seeing either a 10% improvement and/or seeing 99% of children achieving permanency within 18 months of removal from their parent at the end of the two-year project.