Because Relationships Matter: Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care

Back • Publication Date: December 8th, 2014

Authors: Edie Joseph and Kenneth Feder

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Developing healthy and lasting relationships is essential for young people to become successful and productive adults. The development of secure and permanent relationships, or "permanency," is of paramount importance and is essential to the future well-being of maltreated children. Without secure and stable relationships, youth who grow up in foster care have greater difficulty achieving positive life outcomes – in fact, youth who "age out" of foster care after reaching the legal age of majority without permanent relationships face a greater risk of homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and dependence on public assistance. This paper examines best practices to facilitate the development of permanent relationships for children placed in foster care, and assesses Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families’ degree of adherence to these practices.

While our State engages in many best practices that facilitate the development of permanent relationships for children, Connecticut can and should do more to help children in foster care forge permanent relationships. Furthermore, DCF is hamstrung in its efforts to foster permanent relationships because of persistent cuts to the agency’s budget. Both policy and practice improvements and increased investment are needed to help all Connecticut children in foster care achieve permanence.