Through this issue brief, young people who are in, or have been in, foster care offer their insights and aspirations to help guide the actions of child welfare systems as they seek to provide more normal experiences for these youth. The brief begins by explaining new provisions in the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act that promote normalcy, including the requirement for States to implement a “reasonable and prudent parent” standard that allows caregivers to make more daily decisions for young people in their care; a mandate that child welfare systems engage all young people in their case planning beginning at age 14; and the elimination of the use of the court-ordered Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) as a permanency goal for children under 16, as well as the addition of case planning the elimination of the use of the court- ordered Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) as a permanency goal for children under 16, as well as the addition of case planning and oversight requirements when the goal is used. The brief then explains the importance of normalcy to the overall healthy development of young people in foster care; how young people view normalcy and foster care, what they wish for, barriers they face, and their recommendations; suggestions for how to leverage the Strengthening Families Act for significant improvements in child welfare systems, creating a more supportive and normal environment for all young people; and strategies from the field that can serve as examples. 78 references. (Author abstract modified)
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