Pathways to Permanency: Expanding on Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) Provisions and Youth Engagement to Improve Permanency

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, Public Law (P.L.) 113–183, made substantial changes to State agency and court child welfare practices, including limiting the use of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) as a permanency plan for youth in care. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, APPLA was intended to eliminate the use of long-term foster care. Instead, it often is used as a catchall permanency category for children for whom it is difficult to find permanent homes, especially older youth in foster care. P.L. 113–183 contains provisions to prevent misuse of APPLA as a permanency goal.
Section 112 of P.L. 113–183 refines APPLA as a permanency option by prohibiting its use for children under the age of 16 and increasing case plan and case review requirements for older youth with a permanency goal of APPLA (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015). Child welfare agencies and courts have responsibilities to ensure that APPLA is selected as a permanency option only where the conditions of P.L. 113–183 are met, including that a youth has consistent, long-lasting relationships that will extend beyond a youth’s transition to adulthood.