Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland

About This Program

Target Population: Prospective adoptive parents and caregivers (e.g., grandparents and other relatives raising young children, foster parents, and adoptive parents) of children birth to 18+ years

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 21

Program Overview

The Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland provides supportive services to help families who are seeking to provide a permanent home for a child-in-need be successful in completing the adoption or guardianship process. The permanency navigator, who is a paraprofessional, provides peer-support and education to help parents set realistic expectations, overcome barriers and access resources.

The Permanency Navigator Program should be part of nonprofit organization that is not the adoption agency, and the permanency navigator can therefore be seen as a safe, neutral source of information and support. The permanency navigator is available to families by phone and in person to help families stay engaged in the process, answer questions, provide technical assistance and refer to resources.

Through a partnership with the public child welfare agency, the permanency navigator reaches out to families seeking to become foster or adoptive parents, or those who have gotten bogged down in the process. The permanency navigator is also available to families who seek out the service.

Program Goals

The goals of Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland are:

  • Understand the process of providing a permanent home for a child through the public child welfare system
  • Maintain family retention in the adoption or guardianship process
  • Eliminate or reduce barriers to adoption or guardianship

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland.

Essential Components

The essential components of Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland include:

  • The Permanency Navigator Program focuses on removing barriers to adoption or guardianship and helping prospective parents complete the adoption or guardianship process.
  • Families can request services directly or can be referred by their caseworker at the public child welfare agency.
  • Permanency navigators:
    • Carry a caseload of 60 families, if full-time, with some families being more active than others as services are provided on an as-needed basis
    • Help families set and maintain realistic expectations to help them stay engaged in the process and ultimately provide permanency to children in need of a family
    • Provide telephone and in-person individualized support, technical assistance such as with paperwork, and connect families with resources in the community
    • Support prospective parents through the Adoption Helpline, a free support service for the community where they answer and respond to phone calls from people who are interested in adoption, foster care, postadoption support, information, or referral, and any other aspect of the adoption/guardianship process.
    • Work with the public child welfare agency to speak at any preservice trainings that are available for prospective foster or adoptive parents to offer additional supportive services and also follow up with those that have requested additional information and support.
    • Work with the public child welfare agency workers when they refer families who are having difficulties moving forward with the adoption process for system or family reasons.
    • Provide honest, unbiased perspectives to help prospective parents better understand their situation and make a decision about moving forward.
    • Facilitates adoption matching activities for families and attends meetings at the public child welfare agency with families at the family's request.
    • Participate and present families in local, regional and statewide matching activities.
    • Help identify recruitment strategies to increase community awareness of the Permanency Navigator Program and services.
    • Provide postplacement and postadoption related support to kinship, foster, and adoptive families.
    • Should be paraprofessionals with experience working with the Public Child Welfare system and/or knowledge of the foster care system and adoption
    • Can be adoptive parents themselves
  • The Permanency Navigator is supervised by a professional social worker. The supervisor:
    • Reviews cases with the permanency navigator, suggesting interventions
    • Maintains a learning environment to assist the permanency navigator in moving cases forward in the process
    • Keeps practices aligned with known social work and agency practice

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Have a desire to become adoptive parents or guardians to children in the foster care system and are encountering barriers or obstacles; are fostering a child or children who need permanency and are unsure what they can provide or are not moving forward in the process; or have a desire to foster or adopt children in the foster care system or children of relatives who are unable to parent, and are unsure how to proceed

Recommended Intensity:

1-2 contacts per month, as needed by the parents/family; average length of contact 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on need.

Recommended Duration:

The program is available to parents before, during and after they engage in the process of becoming adoptive, foster or kinship parents. Parents use the services on an as needed basis, and often start using the program at the onset of their path to become a parent and use the program on and off as they face challenges. Parents often stay engaged for support after the children are in their home until the legal process is concluded.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Virtual (Online, Telephone, Video, Zoom, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Personnel, access to telephone, computer, internet, space to meet. Working relationship with the area public child welfare agency and the ability to exchange information back and forth with them.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Permanency Navigator - Paraprofessional, Experience such as being a Adoptive, Kinship or Foster Parent; Experience working with Public Child Welfare system and/or knowledge of the foster care system and adoption preferred.

Supervisor- Master's degree; At least three years of post-bachelor's adoption related work experience; Proven professional leadership and supervisory experience; A demonstrated passion for and commitment to waiting child adoption and/or child specific recruitment is a must; Experience working with Public Child Welfare system and/or knowledge of the foster care system and adoption.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is not training available for this program.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Pearlmutter, R. S., Groza, V., Norris, B., & Garafolo, T. (2011). Adopt Cuyahoga's kids: Securing placements for older youth in Cuyahoga County's public child welfare system. Protecting Children, 26(1), 75-91.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest
Number of Participants: 540


  • Age — 13.0-22.7 years (Median=17.5 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 83% African American and 17% Caucasian
  • Gender — 59% Male and 41% Female
  • Status — Participants were adolescents in the child welfare system.

Location/Institution: Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study examines the effectiveness of Adoption Network Cleveland (ANC) efforts to place older youth through adoption into permanent homes [now called Permanency Navigator Program - Adoption Network Cleveland] by utilizing information from two administrative databases. Two administrative databases were combined to produce a quantitative dataset for this study. One database was developed for these projects and was maintained by ANC. The second was provided to the authors by staff of the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (CCDCFS). Results indicate that on December 31, 2006, when the initial evaluation of the project ended, 151 youth (28% of the 540 youth in the cohort) had been placed for adoption. Two-thirds of those placed (n = 102) were aged 13.0-16.9 years, 30% were aged 17.0-18.9 years (n = 45), and the remaining 3% (n = 4) were 19 years and over. Twenty percent of the youth placed for adoption were white (n = 30). Eighty percent of those placed (n = 121) were African American. Forty five percent of those placed (n = 68) were young women, while 55% (n = 83) were young men. There were no significant differences in placement based on race or gender. Limitations include the nonrandomization of participants, interview protocols and survey instruments have no known reliability or validity as they were developed specifically for this evaluation, and lack of follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Wilson, J. B., Katz, J., & Geen, R. (2005, February). Listening to parents: Overcoming barriers to the adoption of children from foster care. KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP05-005. Retrieved from

Contact Information

Betsie Norris
Title: Executive Director
Phone: (216) 482-2341

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2018