Youth Permanency Units
0100-580.00 | Revision Date: 7/1/2014


This policy provides an overview of Youth Permanency Units in the Metro North, Pomona, and Santa Clarita offices, including case assignment criteria, transfer criteria and Youth Permanency Unit responsibilities.

Table of Contents

Version Summary

This policy guide was updated from the 01/25/10 version, as part of the Policy Redesign, in accordance with the DCFS Strategic Plan. It was previously named Youth Permanency Unit Pilot Program.


Goals of the Youth Permanency (YP) Unit

Legal permanency for youth is achieved through reunification, adoption with a relative or non-relative, Kin-GAP guardianship, or legal guardianship with a relative or non-relative.

Three pilot Youth Permanency (YP) Units have been established in the Metro North, Pomona, and Santa Clarita Regional Offices with the intention of developing best youth permanency social work practices and expanding these practices Department-wide.

Goals for youth assigned to YP Units include:

  • To have increased connection with siblings, parents, relatives and nonrelative extended family members (NREFMs).
  • To have increased stability (i.e. reduced replacements, runaways, and hospitalizations).
  • To be returned to the home of a parent, if possible.
  • To be assessed and prepared for adoption if unable to return home.
  • To be assessed and prepared for guardianship if unable to return home or be adopted.
  • To reside in the most appropriate, least restrictive level of care possible.
  • To have at least one durable connection with a committed adult when transitioning out (aging out) of foster care.
    • If the youth has no adult connections, the goal is to identify adult connections from within the existing relationships or to develop meaningful adult relationships through such resources as the DCFS 1360, Mentoring Program Referral, community-based and faith-based organizations, etc.
  • To experience reduced length of stay in out-of-home care.
  • To experience reduced re-entry into care or a higher level of care.

Youth Permanency Leadership Team

Leadership will be provided in each office with a YP Unit by an office-specific team, called the Youth Permanency (YP) Leadership Team, comprised of staff, external stakeholders, and/or community partners. The role of the YP Leadership Team is to:

  • Undertake an office-wide survey to establish which youth meet the established high-need criteria and will be designated as YP cases.
    • This survey is undertaken at least every six months.
  • Develop office-wide implementation strategies for the incorporation of youth permanency best practice elements and resources into all units within the office.
  • Provide oversight and guidance to the YP Unit.
  • Bring issues and recommendations to the Department’s Permanency Steering Committee for resolution and/or implementation. 

Youth Permanency Team

Each youth serviced by a YP Unit must have a Youth Permanency (YP) Team which identifies and carries out the tasks or services deemed necessary to achieve the identified goals.

The YP Team is comprised of:

  • The youth
  • Parents, siblings and other family members
  • Foster care provider(s)
  • Adoptive parents
  • Adoption and other special resources social workers
  • Health and mental health professionals
  • Community members as appropriate and identified by the youth
  • The youth’s attorney, if requested by the youth.

Youth Permanency Team Meeting

A YP Team meeting must take place no later than 90 days from case receipt.

  • The Youth and CSW must be present at the meeting.
  • The SCSW participates in the meeting whenever possible.
  • All YP Team members must be invited to the meeting.
    • The CSW will discuss with the youth the possibility to including applicable service providers, (e.g. Regional Center, DMH, CalWORKS) or representatives from specialized DCFS programs, (e.g. Youth Development Services).
  • Family, friends, and support people identified by the youth must be invited.
  • Support staff should be utilized as necessary to assist with the scheduling process.

The YP Team must collaborate to complete the following tasks at the initial meeting:

  • Determine how frequently the YP Team must convene to best meet the youth’s needs (provided that it is no less frequently than once every six months).
  • Utilizing a youth advocate perspective, recognize strengths and needs, understand and normalize behavior, and develop effective responses, interventions and solutions to ensure stability and long-term success.
  • Partner with the youth to support them as the central player in their own integrated permanency process.
  • Consider loss and grief issues, and how they impact a youth’s ability to form trusting relationship with others.
  • Engage service providers present at the meeting in the process as needed to complete specific activities to meet the youth’s goals.
  • Identify what tasks are necessary to meet the youth’s needs.
  • Determine who is responsible for each identified task.
  • Establish a timeline for task completion.

After the initial YP Team meeting, follow-up meetings must occur at least once every 6 months. These follow-up meetings will:

  • Determine attendees for follow-up meetings.
  • Occur less frequently than once every six months if another team meeting that includes the youth has occurred in the interim and if agreed upon by the YP CSW and SCSW.

Criteria for Transferring Cases to the YP Unit

In order for a youth’s case to be transferred to a YP Unit, the youth must be in a Planned Permanent Living (PPLA), not placed with a relative or nonrelative extended family member (NREFM), or have no or limited family connections, for example:

  • Parental rights have been terminated and the youth was not adopted and has not had contact with their biological family.
  • The youth was adopted but the adoption was disrupted and the youth was returned under DCFS supervision and wants to be reconnected with their biological and/or non-related extended family.
  • The youth may know or have some kind of contact with a relative but they do not have any significant, consistent, and/or regular contact with them.

In addition, at least one of the following criteria must be met:

  • Multiple recent replacements
  • Substance abuse
  • Recent psychiatric hospitalization
  • Repeat runaway
  • Has been in a group home or any placement for years and has not had the opportunity to establish a meaningful relationship with anyone.

CSWs may refer cases that meet the established criteria to the YP Unit by consulting with the YP Unit SCSW. 

Sibling Cases

Sibling cases will not generally be serviced by the YP Units unless transfer to the YP Unit of the sibling with the youth is approved at the ARA level. The decision to include/exclude sibling cases is based on:

  • The necessity of constructing a reasonable caseload for the YP Unit and CSW.
  • Sibling composition, the youth’s perspective, the youth’s relationship with the current CSW, etc.

Transferring Cases Out of the Youth Permanency (YP) Unit

Cases may be transferred out of the YP Unit on a case-by-case basis under the following circumstances after the YP Unit CSW and SCSW determine whether or not a youth will receive required support outside the YP Unit:

  • After adoptive placement but prior to adoption finalization.
  • Legal guardianship cases with continued jurisdiction and/or open supervision.
  • When a youth has achieved relational and/or emotional permanence.
  • When a youth is returned home to parents.

The YP Unit CSW and SCSW must conduct a mandatory staffing with the new CSW and SCSW to ensure that case issues are clearly communicated, and proper support and resources continue to be provided to the youth.


Transferring Cases to the Youth Permanency (YP) Unit

YP Unit SCSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the survey list of cases meeting the established criteria.
  2. Identify which youth would be best served by the YP Unit.
  3. Conduct a staffing meeting with the current CSW and SCSW.
    1. Determine if an identified case should be transferred to the YP Unit or what actions are necessary to best serve the youth’s permanency needs without transferring the case.
      1. Consider the youth’s perspective on proposed case management changes, as reflected by the current CSW.
    2. Identify actions that need to be taken that need to be completed before the case can be transferred to the YP Unit.
      1. These may include ensuring there are current medical/dental records, and agreement on who will complete upcoming court reports, etc.
    3. Develop a written plan documenting necessary follow-up items and the responsible party for each item.
  4. Follow the chain of command to resolve any disagreements related to a case transfer that cannot be resolved at the staffing meeting.
  5. Carry out all regular and mandated SCSW responsibilities in accordance with existing policies.

Receiving a Case Assigned to the Youth Permanency (YP) Unit

YP Unit CSW Responsibilities

  1. Review the youth’s case history.
  2. Within ten days of case receipt, complete at least one face-to-face contact with the youth.
    1. Engage the youth in a youth-driven permanency planning process in order to develop permanency goals.
    2. Work with the youth to determine who should be part of the Youth Permanency Team.
  3. Develop a youth-driven permanency plan by holding a Youth Permanency Team meeting.
    1. Incorporate the plan into the Case Plan update.
  4. Perform family finding and engagement activities:
    • Coordinate in-depth searches and engagement of family or other meaningful persons.
    • Lead and coordinate the DCFS staff on the Youth Permanency Team to help establish regular contact/visits with a strong, broad network of family support, durable emotional connections, and the possibility of placement by:
      • Completing in-depth interviews
      • Mining case records
      • Conducting internet searches.
  5. Carry out all regular and mandated case management or case-carrying CSW responsibilities in accordance with existing policies.

SCSW Approval

  • Case transfer to the YP Unit.
  • Assignment of YP Unit case to YP Unit CSW.
  • Case transfer out of the YP Unit.
  • Case closure.

ARA Approval

  • Transfer of sibling case into the YP Unit along with their high-need sibling’s case.


LA Kids

DCFS 1360, Mentoring Program Referral


Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 – Emphasizes child safety and the importance of moving children through the child welfare system quickly to establish a permanent home.

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Manual of Policies and Procedures (MPP) Division 31-201 – States the need and guidelines to develop a case plan with prioritized case plan goals and requirements when a social worker is recommending termination of family reunification.

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 358.1(b), 366.21(e) and 366.22(a) – State that services and their status to achieve legal permanency must be addressed in the social study at the disposition hearing and in subsequent court reports.

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 361.3 – Specifies that all relative caregivers must be assessed by a specific set of criteria, including the ability to provide permanency for the child.

Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 16501.1(f)(9) – States in pertinent part that when out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency should reunification fail.