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Book Chapter

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This chapter is intended to identify options for legal permanency that state law and the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) commonly recognize to better serve children in foster care. Ideally, the child will ultimately return safely to his or her home of origin. But when a return home is not possible, the child welfare legal process should result in a safe and legally secure alternative permanent placement for the child. The emphasis on legally secure permanent placement is meant to provide the child with psychological stability and a sense of belonging, and limit the likelihood of future disruption of the parent-child relationship. All state laws authorize adoption of children, but traditional adoption does not meet the needs of all children in public foster care. Attorneys representing children, parents, or the government agency may seek other legal options for permanent and legally secure placement. Some authorities recommend that these options be broad enough to serve the needs of all children in care who are not able to return to their home of origin; options could include adoption, adoption with contact, permanent guardianship, stand-by guardianship, and "another planned permanent living arrangement" (APPLA) such as permanent long-term foster care.