Time to Permanency
Definition: Average (median) time from filing of the original
petition to permanency
Purpose: Timeliness. The desired outcome is the expedition
of permanency by minimizing the time from the filing of the
petition or protective custody order to permanency.
Courts generally are most familiar with timeliness measures.
These measures provide courts with tools to assist them in
pinpointing areas where they are doing well and areas where
improvement is needed. This measure is perhaps the most important
indicator of timeliness because it covers the time from which
the court takes jurisdiction of the case, i.e. when the petition
is filed, to the time permanency is reached.
Key decisions that the court should make at the permanency
planning hearing are:
- The child
is to be returned home on a specific date.
- The child will be legally freed for adoption.
- The custody of the child will be transferred to someone permanently.
- The child will remain in foster care on a permanent or long-term
care will be extended for a specific time, with a continued
goal of family unification.
Method: This measure can only be calculated after permanency
has been achieved and the case closed. It should be calculated
on all of the cases closed because permanency was achieved.
Select all cases that have achieved permanency within the past 12 months. Compute
the number of days from filing of the original petition to the date of permanency
for each of the four permanency outcomes.
Determine the case with the median time for each of the permanency
Analysis and Interpretation:
Interpretation is enhanced by examining the average time from
petition to permanency according to whether or not the child
was removed from the home. Obviously, permanency is most critical
when children are not in their own homes.
Calculating the relative time frames from which permanency
was achieved further aids interpretation.
Time to permanency from Filing of Original Petition
from filing of the original petition to Permanency
Elapsed time between key hearings.
Required Data Elements:
Case number or child identifier,
Date of original petition was filed
Date permanency was achieved.
Reason for case closure—reunification, guardianship, adoption, planned
permanent living arrangement.
• Average time from removal to permanency
• Average time from shelter care hearing to permanency
• Length of Time to Exit Foster Care to Reunification
• Length of Time to Exist Foster Care to Adoption
of Removal: The date a child is actually removed from
the home. Frequently, law and statute permit the removal of
a child and the filing of the petition and hearing follows
of Case Closure: The date a cases is closed by the court
and jurisdiction ended.
Reason: Reason that a cases is closed: including
reunification, adoption, emancipation, reaching age of majority,
or another permanent living arrangement.
Planned Permanent Living Arrangement: This is a permanent legal arrangement
for a child designed to promote stability
and permanency in a child’s life. It is a category for
arrangements other than a return home, adoption, legal guardianship
or placement with a relative.
Mean: The most common way of defining average (measure of
central tendency) calculated as the sum of a all of the times
to permanency divided by the number of cases in the sample.
Median: A robust
way of defining average—the middle
number in an array of numbers such that half of the numbers
will be above this point and half will be below.
Calculated in this way, medians are not subject to fluctuations caused by a
wide disparity in values that means are.