As 2015 draws to a close, we’re happy to note another victory this year in our efforts to help Pennsylvania’s kids.
Gov. Wolf this week signed a new law (Act 94 of 2015) that will limit the use of one of the least desirable options for finding a permanent home for a foster youth. The option, known as Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA), is often used by the courts when better options - such as family reunification, adoption, kinship care or legal guardianship - have been ruled out.
Unfortunately, APPLA is a permanency goal that often results in long-term foster care instead of a permanent home. As PPC noted earlier this year, 80 percent of children and youth with a goal of APPLA who leave foster care do not achieve permanency, and a vast majority “age out” of foster care without ever finding a permanent family to rely on.
PPC knows we can do better by these kids, and that’s why we advocated for changes that limit APPLA’s use to youth age 16 and older and encourage efforts to identify supportive adults willing to be involved in the child’s life. These adults might not necessarily be ready to adopt a child, but they can offer a supportive safety net for foster youth as they make the challenging transition to adulthood.
We were happy to see those changes become law this week, and we’re looking forward to doing more great work with the commonwealth as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services explores alternatives to APPLA.
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