This article argues that all adolescents, indeed all human beings, deserve at least one parent—one person who takes the good with the bad because that person’s life is intertwined with the child’s. The child matters to the parent in a way that a friend, nephew, or foster child may not. Child welfare professionals must never lose sight of this principle when they recruit, train, and maintain parents for adolescents. The parent can be someone who is already in the young person’s life or someone who has been unable to parent in the past, but is now ready to secure that bond. True parents are attainable for teenagers in foster care as long as child welfare professionals remember what they are looking for and are steadfast and creative in their efforts to find and nurture these relationships. Section Two of this article details the issues that adolescents face when they age out 5 of the foster care system. Next, Section Three discusses the obstacles adolescents face in attaining familial permanency. Section Four examines the aspects of successful adoptions, including the recruitment and decision making processes, in an effort to apply those principals to developing and maintaining adolescent permanency. Finally, Section Five concludes with the keys to successful adolescent permanency.

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Publication Date

Spring 2012