Pathways to Permanency

Improving outcomes for youth and their families in North Carolina’s child welfare system.

All children deserve to grow and thrive in safe, healthy communities. Life stress and adverse events can have a lasting effect on a child’s development. For youth in foster care, the challenges around coordinating services and supports across multiple systems adds a layer of complexity that can negatively impact them, their families, and those working to help.

Watch Vaya’s Child & Family Continuum Director Ashley Parks discuss Pathways to Permanency with WLOS-TV host Nelson Weston.

The Pathways to Permanency project is an initiative that was designed to align the work of the child welfare and public behavioral health systems. Through cross-system collaboration, the project aims to improve outcomes for child welfare-involved youth and their families, as well as the professionals who serve them. Representatives from Vaya, local Department of Social Services offices, mental health providers, and other stakeholders meet regularly to map out feasible, sustainable solutions to real issues.

Our Goal

The goal of the project is to provide a clear, supportive path for youth in foster care on their journey to permanency. Resources developed through project work groups were vetted by professionals across the child welfare and public behavioral health systems. The materials are available for anyone to use and may be accessed through this website.

What is permanency?
Permanency means finding a forever home for a child in foster care. It’s about giving them a place to grow, learn, and be loved without worrying about moving from one place to another.

Adventure Awaits Toolkit

Adventure Awaits A Word of mouth foster parent recruitment campaign.

The “Adventure Awaits” Foster Care Recruitment Toolkit, a key initiative of Vaya’s Pathways to Permanency project, is a valuable resource for agencies and individuals focused on recruiting foster parents.

This toolkit addresses the current need for more foster homes and offers a range of strategies, insights, and personal stories from existing foster parents. It emphasizes the critical role foster families play in providing stability and care to vulnerable children, with the aim of equipping recruitment efforts and creating brighter futures for children in need.

View or download


Please review the resources below, created for stakeholders across various systems, aimed at enhancing the journey to permanency for children in foster care.

Service Array Resource Flyer 
This tool aids clinical homes, providers, and County DSS offices in finding Medicaid service providers within the Vaya Health region and introduces NCCARE360, ensuring clients are referred to the appropriate level of care. 
View or download 

FosteringNC: Child Development and the Effects of Trauma Series Facilitator Guide 
This guide, designed to complement FosteringNC’s curriculum regarding trauma and childhood development, provides facilitators with discussion points, activities, and a study guide to enrich learning and engagement with in-service training. 
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Engaging Child Welfare Involved Parents in Treatment, Best Practice Guide 
This guide compiles evidence-based strategies for providers to effectively engage with birth parents – enhancing treatment outcomes and family reunification. 
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Enhancing Care Journeys Toolkit
This toolkit provides a collection of essential resources to help streamline and optimize the residential treatment placement process. The toolkit provides guidance for County DSS, child placing agencies, and clinical homes involved in securing placements in therapeutic settings.
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Sharing Parents Protected Health Information 
This flyer can be used as a support for providers and DSS to help understand the HIPPA requirements for sharing parent information.  
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Supporting Caregivers: A Guide to Kinship and Special Needs Enhanced Rate Programs 
This guide highlights the various programs and enhancements offered and their funding mechanisms used by counties with the goal of highlighting the work being done by counties and promoting opportunities for county-level peer support, partnership, and collaboration.  
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Adventure Awaits Foster Care Agency Contact Sheet
This document provides contact information for learning more about the foster care program and how you can become a licensed foster parent in your county.
View or download

Training Materials

Explore the diverse training programs provided below, tailored for stakeholders from multiple systems with the goal of creating a smoother path to permanency for children in foster care.  

To view these trainings, you will be taken to the Vaya Learn Portal where you will register for an account, click Courses in the top menu, select Pathways to Permanency, click Curriculum, and finally select the course you would like to view. Check this page regularly for additional trainings and updates. 

Child Welfare 101
This training aims to educate Vaya staff, providers, and other stakeholders on the child welfare system and how it supports children and families.
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Comprehensive Clinical Assessment Pathway and Protocols for Youth in Foster Care This training is intended for DSS staff and provides an overview of the Pathways to Permanency assessment model and how to make referrals.
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Treat Them Like Gold 
This training is based on the Treat Them Like Gold Best Practice Guide developed by the NC DSS Child Welfare Services Section in 2011. It aims to educate front line and administrative staff at County DSS offices and private agencies on best practices, successes, barriers to building relationships, and providing supports for active resource families. 
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Foster Parent Bill of Rights 
The Foster Parent Bill of Rights training, organized by the Foster Family Alliance, addresses key concerns of foster parents, and aims to empower them with respect, a voice in court, and timely notifications about permanency planning. 
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Understanding Behaviors in Foster Care: having Trauma-Informed Expectations 
This training is intended for residential treatment providers and provides an overview of trauma, system induced trauma and traumatization, and helps to support the understanding of the impact of trauma on child development.
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The Latest News

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