What is Permanency Planning for Children?

Permanency planning focuses on achieving family support for children living in an institution by finding them a permanent living arrangement that includes “an enduring and nurturing parental relationship.”

Texas law underscores the importance of children with developmental disabilities living in a family or family-like setting by requiring permanency planning for each child living in an institution.

Texas law defines child as a person with a developmental disability who is younger than 22. Institutions include:

  • nursing facility,
  • intermediate care facility for individuals with an intellectual disability or related conditions (ICF/IID), and
  • a setting that provides residential assistance services through the Home and Community-based Services (HCS) program.

Each child’s service plan must include permanency planning goals that are ongoing and reviewed at least semiannually. The law also requires a child’s name be added to a waiver program interest list appropriate to his or her needs.

It is important for the child and his or her parents, guardians, friends and advocate to be actively involved in the permanency planning process.

If the parent or guardian can’t be located, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) designates a volunteer advocate to help develop the child’s permanency plan. The child’s parent or guardian also can request a volunteer advocate. A volunteer advocate can’t be employed by or be under contract with the institution in which the child lives. An adult relative of a child or a representative from a child advocacy group also may serve as a volunteer advocate.

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