As part of our mission and case practice, we are committed to achieving safety, well-being, and permanency for all youth under our care. Achieving permanency is just as important for an adolescent as it is for a young child, as permanency or connections to safe, caring adults contribute to one’s overall stability and well being as a self-sufficient adult.
While adoption is the most legally secure permanency alternative for any youth who cannot be reunified with his parents, we recognize that there are other options which may be considered for adolescents such as Kinship Legal Guardianship (KLG) or the completion of a signed agreement (Permanency Pact) between the adolescent and a supportive, caring adult of his or her choosing.
Permanency planning is an integral part of ongoing case planning that Division staff must do with all youth in care. This includes discussions with the adolescent regarding the people who are important to him in his life both now and in the past. It means thoroughly reviewing or mining the case record to uncover relatives and others from the adolescent’s past who were interested in him or who might have been ruled out in the past. One’s circumstances can change over the years and an adolescent’s needs are different from those of a young child, so a relative who might not have been the best choice when the adolescent was young could be an excellent source for an older child.
Facilitating legal permanency and/or connections to a circle of caring adults is an important role of all DCF staff working with adolescents and young adults. To assist caseworkers, DCF has contracted with the following agencies to provide intensive permanency services to a limited number of older adolescents, who are at risk of aging out of the system with no caring connections in place.
Life-Long Connections – a Robin’s Nest permanency program that serves DCP&P adolescents in Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Cape May and Atlantic Counties.
Youth Permanency – a Family Service permanency program that serves Camden, Burlington and Mercer Counties.
Youth Permanency – Children’s Aid and Family Service (CAFS) permanency program works with DCP&P youth who are currently in CAFS programs in addition to DCP&P adolescents in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Passaic, and Union Counties.
All referrals for these programs must be sent to Robin Boulding, Office of Adolescent Services via fax, (609) 984-0507 or email firstname.lastname@example.org