In the care system, vulnerable children are often faced with uncertainty and instability. The final decision about their future care must proceed through the courts, and if adoption is recommended for that child, they face a further wait whilst suitable adoptive parents are found. 

During this time, a child may be cared for in one or more temporary fostering placements. Children may form attachments with their foster carers, and when these are severed, children who have already had a very difficult start in life, will suffer additional disruption and upset.

Early permanence offers children the chance to be cared for in a stable, permanent home as quickly as possible, and reduces the likelihood of additional upheaval for a child who may have already suffered significant trauma.

In early permanence placements, children are fostered by the people who are likely to become their adopters at an early stage, avoiding the possibility of multiple temporary placements. This means the bonding process can begin much earlier than it would do with a standard adoptive placement, giving the child the reassurance of a loving, secure family life at the earliest opportunity.

It also means a child will endure fewer moves and broken attachments, avoiding some of the stress and damage which can be caused by removing a child from foster carers they have bonded with.

Contact with the birth family is usually required during the fostering stage of the placement, but this can also have advantages for early permanence carers and the children in their care. They will have a better understanding of the birth parents’ background and the struggles they have faced, which can be vitally important to an adopted child as they grow older.

In some rare cases, a child in an early permanence placement will be returned to their birth parents, which will sever the attachment they have formed with their carer. Whilst this can be very difficult and upsetting for all involved, it is a great outcome for the child.  In such cases, our agency, the local authority and all partners involved in the child’s welfare will work together to provide the necessary support for the carers, the child and their family.

It is important to remember that early permanence is a child-centred process which means the child's needs come first by placing the uncertainty with the adults, rather than with vulnerable, young children.

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