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2.1.a Safety plus permanence

“Safety” has always been and continues to be the primary objective for all public child protection agencies. The bottom line is to get and keep children out of harm’s way. If children can remain safely with their parents while the adults work through their problems and issues, the children stay home. If not, they are placed with other relatives. In about 10% of child protection cases, the children can’t stay at home and there are no suitable relatives to keep them safe. These children come into care, with the primary objective being keeping them safe.

In recent years, it has become clear safety, by itself, isn’t enough. Children also need permanence. They must have a permanent, stable home where they can develop normally and go about the business of being children. They must not fear for their safety, worry about whether their basic needs will be met, or wonder where they will be living tomorrow.

About 90% of children in care will reunify with their families. In the meantime, they need to know they are safe and they won’t have to move, except to go home. For the approximately 10% of foster children who can’t ever go home, a safe, permanent home must be there for them, with no delay.

From your point of view:

Write your thoughts after each question.

•           What do you think happens to children when they don’t feel safe and can’t be sure their basic needs will be met?

•           What do you think the effects are on children when they are abruptly taken from their homes and families and placed into the homes of strangers?

•           What do you think it does to children when they aren’t sure where they will be living tomorrow?

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Please send comments or questions to Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. || and visit