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The kit explores topics such as why permanency is important, what to consider when making permanency decisions, concurrent planning and permanency case work throughout the child protection continuum.

The objective is to strengthen your approach to working in partnership with our children, parents and carers to make timely decisions for children regarding permanency.

Key messages

  • The first preference for permanency is for children to be cared for and supported by their families when it is safe to do so. Planning will always focus on supporting a child’s family and including them in decision making, no matter what the permanency decision is.
  • Permanency planning needs to start from Day 1 of a child entering care. This work actually begins on the first day Child Safety has contact with a family. Evidence shows that when children’s permanency options are identified and supported from the beginning of a child’s care experience, the child faces less placement breakdowns and avoids multiple care arrangements.
  • Permanency involves three different areas of focus: relational permanency, physical permanency and legal permanency. Permanency will look different for each family and must always include the three areas of focus. Relational stability helps children and families achieve connection, while legal and physical permanency support security and stability for the individual child.
  • Children’s and families’ participation in decision making is central to permanency planning. Participation is an ongoing process, not a single event. It is important to remember that it is a child’s and family’s right to participate in decision making.
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle must be applied when making decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. By applying these principles, we ensure the care provided and decisions made are unique to each child’s needs.
  • Partnering with parents, foster carers and networks is crucial. The key to successful permanency planning is building and working with a child’s network to make robust and holistic assessments in a timely way.


Permanency will look different for each family. It is not a static process and must include the three dimensions of relational, physical and legal permanency. 

What is permanency?

Permanency is about maximising a child’s stability and identity through relationships and connectedness.

Permanency practice is the planning, actions and decision making that create stability, continuity and connection for a child in the child protection system. It involves making plans in a timely way and having alternative plans should the primary goal not be achieved.

Permanency is more than stability in a placement. It involves relationships and connections to important people in a child’s life, creating feelings of belonging, connection and love.

Permanency is focused on a child’s core needs for stability and continuity of their relationships. This can be achieved either through reunification of the child with their birth parent/s or through an alternative permanent care arrangement.

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