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Complex Care/Specialized Permanency

*Note, this page has transitioned from the title “ASIST/Specialized Permanency” to Complex Care/Specialized Permanency. The ASIST (Active Supportive Intervention Services for Transition) program began in 2019 as a response to the need for specialized permanency services and supports in the transition of all children, youth and non-minor dependents (NMDs) who were residing in residential placements or residential care facilities to that of home-based settings. We have learned a lot in the past few years, and while the ASIST program successfully sunset, the need for more information about Complex Care and Specialized Permanency continues.

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  • Every child and youth deserves, and needs, a loving permanent family to help them grow and thrive – and for too many who grow up in the child welfare system, a loving family remains elusive. Children who enter the children’s system of care often suffer from some form of trauma which led to the separation from their family; in addition, the experience of child welfare intervention in and of itself can be a traumatic experience. While most children are reunified with their parents within the first year, many are not. In fact, on average, approximately 20% of children who enter foster care are still in care after 3 years. Further, many children and youth who experience trauma and foster care develop complex care needs, Children and youth for whom permanency is achieved may still have unresolved complex care needs which can escalate and lead to additional system intervention, and children and youth for whom permanency does not happen experience further trauma that comes with not finding a permanent sense of home and belonging.

    Specialized Permanency Services, now required by law in the state of California, are designed to help ensure children and youth (including nonminor dependents) achieve a permanent, loving family—a sense of belonging. Specialized permanency services are designed for and with the child to address the child's history of trauma, separation and loss. This is achieved through intensive family finding and engagement, connection and relationship building, therapeutic and behavioral health services, pro-social activities, child-specific resource parent recruitment, and other individualized services and supports. 

Resource Guide

View the 2023 Complex Care Resource Guide.

Monthly Case Coaching

Monthly case coaching sessions are designed to assist county agencies in finding creative ways to connect difficult-to-place youth to familial and non-familial connections, and develop plans to stabilize youth already in placement. Coaching from UC Davis Human Services is conducted by national permanency experts with specializations ranging from family finding and engagement to complex trauma-informed responses.  

Monthly Webinars

We sponsor monthly webinars presented by complex care/specialized permanency experts who cover a range of topics from the neuroscience to trauma to second-chance reunification. California counties also regularly present on their promising practices and programs they have implemented to serve children and youth with complex care needs.

Register for an upcoming webinar or view past webinars


ECHO Complex Care Sessions

The ECHO "All Teach All Learn" model is a collaborative learning approach that uses facilitated discussions, case-based learning, and peer-to-peer interactions to lead positive, sustainable change in your communities.

For More Information

For additional information, visit the CDSS Complex Care web pages or email wraparoundquestions@dss.ca.gov.

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