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The Walker Permanency Center (Permanency Center) promotes the dissemination of knowledge, best practices, and innovative approaches that advance permanency for children and youth in out-of-home care. The Permanency Center champions both legal and relational permanency, prioritizing efforts that contribute to successful reunification and adoption outcomes, particularly based on the youth’s goal and what is in the best interests of the youth and the family; and build and/or strengthen safe, stable, nurturing relationships between youth and family/caregivers. Walker’s successes and expertise securing permanency for youth in its programs provide a strong foundation for the work of the Permanency Center. Part of this work includes assisting other providers and state agencies in assessing and gaining clarity about their permanency plans and goals and building internal capacity to reach these goals. The Permanency Center does this through several key activities, including but not limited to: 

  • Implementation of the Walker Permanency Practice Model© 
  • Participation in cross-system collaboration with providers, state agencies, and other key stakeholders 
  • Training and consultation

Walker Permanency Practice Model©

The Permanency Center supports the adoption of the Walker Permanency Practice Model© (WPPM). The WPPM is a trauma-informed, adoption-competent, culturally- and linguistically-sensitive, assessment-based model. Through implementation of the WPPM, an assigned Permanency Team, typically composed of the clinician, state social worker, attorney, family, and others, shares information to: (1) better understand a youth’s permanency history and current plan; (2) ensure that treatment plans and related activities are designed to promote the youth’s permanency status; and (3) expedite the time it takes for the youth to return to a home setting.

In using the WPPM, the Permanency Team completes three tools developed by Walker for the purpose of the practice model: the Walker Permanency Assessment; the research-tested Walker Permanency Rating Tool; and the Walker Permanency Planning Tool. The WPPM increases the knowledge, participation, and responsibility of all parties who are invested—professionally and personally—in a youth achieving permanency, including the youth when feasible.

Cross-System Collaboration

The Permanency Center advocates collaboration and teamwork through the implementation of the Walker Permanency Practice Model© and creates and supports strategic partnerships and networks to enhance practice and effect systems change. The Permanency Center sponsors cross-system collaboration efforts such as:

  • The Walker Professional Advisory Council
  • Permanency learning communities focused on principles, practice, partnerships, and policy
  • Applied learning experiences and events, including The Urgency of Permanency Fall Forum: Family is at the Heart of the Matter (2016) and The Urgency of Permanency Summit: Galvanizing Commitment and Catalyzing Change (2017)

Training & Consultation

The Permanency Center’s trainings and consultations are tailored to meet the needs of the provider organization or public agency involved. The list below is a sample of current offerings:

  • Implementing the Walker Permanency Practice Model© Incorporating the Walker Permanency Practice Model© into an organization’s own permanency advancing strategies is supported by consultation on agency culture and “readiness,” training on the use of the model’s practice elements and its research-tested tools and coaching to support implementation
  • Creating a Permanence-Driven Culture Engaging in a permanency self-assessment to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement as well as developing an action plan to prioritize and address these findings to cultivate a permanence-driven organization
  • Permanency Planning Determining agency-wide principles and practices that guide development and implementation of youth-specific permanency goals and activities
  • Youth-Centered Permanency Round Tables© (Casey Family Programs) Learning core values and skills needed to successfully facilitate a Youth-Centered Permanency Round Table to relentlessly pursue permanency for identified youth
  • Family Finding© (National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness) Orientation to purpose and process of conducting Family Finding searches as well as strategies for engaging in outreach to kin and others included in Family Finding reports to identify potential family resources for identified youth
  • Family Group Conferencing Orientation to guiding principles, defining features, and four stages of facilitating a formal, structured Family Group Conference to develop a plan for supporting the family to best care for their child
  • Training in Adoption Competency© (C.A.S.E., in partnership with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange and Child and Family Services) 11-month course designed to provide participants with an overview of permanency-related theories and practices to equip clinicians to better serve clients with an adoption history
  • Strategic Sharing© (Foster Care Alumni of America) 6-hour workshop designed to help participants learn in a supportive environment how to tell their own personal story
  • Building Cross-Sector Partnerships Considering and addressing key elements of creating and sustaining an effective cross-sector partnership that leads to collective impact on identified problems.