How Important is Permanency Planning for Children? Considerations for Pediatricians Involved in Child Protection
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"Permanency planning" refers to maximizing stability in living situations for children in the care of child protection agencies. This issue concerns pediatricians who may be involved in assessing and providing care for these children. In North America, permanency planning is widely advocated if not always effectively implemented. The concept, however, is still controversial from the perspective of protecting parents' interests. This paper examines the principles and evidence underlying the concept of permanency planning in order to ascertain whether emphasizing it remains justified in terms of children's emotional health and development. Three related bodies of literature are reviewed: requirements for healthy child development, conditions that create risk for children, and outcomes for children in care. The findings suggest that permanency planning is vitally important for children and is not only justified, but should be given major emphasis. The implications for pediatricians are discussed.
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