The Value and Impact of Permanent Legal Custodianship
ASCI releases report analyzing PLC as a valuable permanency option for families.
Below is an excerpt from A Second Chance, Inc.'s reflective analysis, "Permanent Legal Custodianship: A Valuable Permanency Option in Kinship Care." The report explains the legal applications of permanent legal custodianship (PLC), as well as provides post-permanency data analysis, and practice and policy recommendations for future success.
A reflective analysis covering a 15-year span, this report examines outcomes for nearly 1,400 youth—mostly African American and female—served by A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI) in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County who achieved permanency through permanent legal custodianship (PLC)*, without notable incident.
As a pioneer and longtime provider of kinship care in Pennsylvania, ASCI was well-positioned to analyze PLC’s impact on the lives of thousands of youth it has served. Through this report, the agency aims to inform those who touch the lives of children and families and influence their outcomes—legislators, judges, court personnel, public health and human services administrators, nonprofit leaders, and practitioners. An additional goal of the report is to call attention to one of the greatest challenges kinship care families continuously face: accessing accurate information about the available benefits and services they need. Key among them are permanency options and pre- and post-permanency support to improve transition and permanency outcomes.
Current practice—which suggests that the permanency process ends when the child welfare system closes a case—can leave families and their communities vulnerable. In this report, recommendations for practitioners and systems reflect a shift both in policy and the practice paradigm to sustain and protect the safety, permanency and well-being of youth and families in the child welfare system.
*Note that in the state of Pennsylvania, PLC can be prefixed with “Subsidized” (SPLC) to denote families’ eligibility to receive subsidies, including Medicaid, from county child welfare agencies. The amount of a PLC subsidy may not exceed that of a foster care maintenance payment—the daily reimbursement paid to a foster parent for providing basic family foster care.
Each May, ASCI acknowledges the contribution of foster care families across the country. More and more, many of these families are kinship care families. It is important to recognize the distinct positive impact kinship care has on the entire foster care system.
As we look for ways to strengthen the supports for kinship care, we present this reflective analysis on the use of PLC as a permanency option for kin.