PRT Success Celebrated in South Central PA
Permanency Round Table (PRT) meetings are characterized by an urgent and relentless pursuit of legal permanency with the focus of helping youth find a permanent home. Permanency stakeholders combine optimism, strengths–based solutions and a fresh open-minded approach to help youth in out-of-home care secure legal permanency.
Since 2013, the SWAN prime contract has championed PRT implementation with interested county child welfare agencies. PRT meetings in the south central region have been very successful overall and have been able to address the many challenges youth face on their journey to a permanent home. One recent case stood out:
A youth had been in care for several years and had between 32-36 placements, including hospitals and respites. This youth is transgender, has battled recurrent suicide attempts and incurred ongoing mental health interventions.
While the youth had numerous placements, he was able to maintain stability in a family setting for an extended period of time. This youth’s PRT team was dedicated to making sure that he remained in a family setting even after many “failed” placements.
Many kin were not able to be part of his permanency journey, and unfortunately, his grandmother passed away in the middle of this journey making the process even more challenging.
The county caseworker was a determined and motivated participant in the PRT process and meetings from the start until the day she was in court to celebrate what many did not see as possible for this youth.
An amazing resource family was located in a distant part of the state. This family, who did not initially want to be a permanent resource for any child, decided the week before the youth was going to age out of care to be a permanent resource. The family accepted the young man for who he is and has provided unconditional positive support in the good and challenging times. He was able to graduate from high school after constant moves, bullying, poor educational experience and the many issues foster kids face always being the “new kid in school.” He plans to attend community college in the near future and now has a forever home.
This young man had an amazing PRT team who was dedicated to finding permanency for him and overcame every obstacle that got in the way. His caseworker, Jessica Miller with Perry County Children and Youth Services, was even recognized recently as one of eight Pennsylvania Advocates of the Year for her advocacy and determination in this case. They had a special bond, and she attributed his success in achieving permanency to the PRT intervention, which she described as having clear communication, urgency, support, and detailed and accountable tasks.
To learn more about PRTs, reach out to your SWAN regional technical assistant.