Texas Youth Permanency Study

Texas Youth Permanency Study

The Texas Youth Permanency Study (TYPS) examines the long-term outcomes and opportunities of youth in the Texas Foster Care System. Specifically, the study seeks to understand the quality of relationships developed by youth in care and identify factors that help youth sustain strong and supportive relationships when they exit out of foster care. Relational permanency is defined as lasting, loving and accepting relationships with parental figures such as foster, adoptive and birth parents, as well as siblings, friends, extended family and dating partners. Enduring connections, emotional support and a sense of belonging are associated with increased social emotional wellbeing and resilience when former foster youth tackle the challenges of adulthood.

The Texas Youth Permanency Study (TYPS) is designed as a 5-year longitudinal study  following 500 foster youth who are 14 – 21 years old at time of recruitment. Participant recruitment occurs at child welfare courts across Texas. Click here for a current map of participating courts. The recruitment window will be approximately one year, from July 2019 – December 2020. We are continuing to reach out to additional courts to ensure representation of youth from diverse geographic areas.

Texas Youth Permanency StudyData collection involves quarterly on-line surveys completed by all youth and in-depth annual interviews with a randomly selected subsample. After the initial survey at time of enrollment, youth will be contacted every 3 months to update their information and complete quarterly mini-surveys (5 – 10 minutes), respectively more comprehensive annual surveys (20 – 30 minutes). Click here for a List of Measures.

The study has been approved by the IRB at UT Austin and the Department of Child and Protective Services.

Research Questions

  1. How do foster care experiences in adolescence shape developmental outcomes (safety, education, health, life skills, vocation) in emerging adulthood?
  2. To what extent do foster youth develop stable and nurturing relationships and sustain these relationships in emerging adulthood?
  3. Does the legal outcome of the case (adoption, reunification, permanent legal guardianship or aging out of care) impact developmental outcomes and relational permanency in emerging adulthood?
  4. How does relational permanency impact developmental outcomes during emerging adulthood?


  1. Design policies and services to enhance relational and physical permanency for youth
  2. Honor youth voice and choice in their journey through the child welfare system
  3. Use evidence to guide funding of what works for youth


Interested in staying up to date with TYPS?


TYPS Sheets: Authentic Relationships Matter Most

The TYPS team has put together a series of highlighted recommendations in the form of “TYPS Sheets” for judges, parents, professionals, and community members connected to the foster care system.

Texas Youth Permanency Study TYPS Sheets


TYPS Sheet for Birth Families

We heard one thing over and over from youth in our study. And while what we heard probably won’t come as a surprise to you, it’s worth repeating: You are important to your child. You play a special role in helping your child become a successful adult. Even after a long separation, a child’s longing for a good relationship with you is still there.

Click here to read the full Birth Families TYPS Sheet. 


TYPS Sheet for Judges

As judges, you play a critical role in shaping the lives of youth. A theme for nearly all participants in our study was that they felt their voices were not heard during their time in foster care. Given the influence you have over a youth’s case, you can take concrete steps to welcome youth voice into your courtroom and hold other parties accountable for educating and engaging youth.

Click here to read the full Judges TYPS Sheet. 


TYPS Sheet for Foster Families

As foster parents, you play a critical role in shaping the lives of youth in foster care. The hard work you do on a daily basis to create a sense of belonging in the family, meet youth’s needs, make space for personal growth, and help them have a normal childhood greatly impacts their future outcomes.

Click here to read the full Foster Families TYPS Sheet. 


TYPS Sheet for Adoptive Parents

The formation of a family through adoption is a lifelong journey that is beautifully rewarding but also complex. Although not yet well-documented by researchers, we know families formed by adoption from foster care face unique challenges as youth enter young adulthood. Our research team is interested in understanding these challenges in order to find ways to best support families formed by adoption from foster care.

Click here to read the full Adoptive Parents TYPS Sheet. 


TYPS Sheet for Institutions Serving Youth in Foster Care

In 2017, we interviewed 30 young adults formerly in Texas foster care for the Texas Youth Permanency Study (TYPS). The majority of participants in our pilot study had significant lived experience in group home settings, residential treatment centers, and other congregate care institutions. Our primary finding is that no matter how youth leave foster care, relationships matter. Based on our findings, we have provided several recommendations for institutions and the people who work there to improve the way you engage youth living in these settings.

Click here to read the full Institutions Support TYPS Sheet. 


TYPS Sheet for Caseworkers

As caseworkers, you play a critical role in shaping the life of a youth in foster care. You have considerable influence in case planning, placement, and permanency outcomes. Most importantly, you have the opportunity to provide a supportive relationship for youth.

Click here to read the full Caseworkers TYPS Sheet. 


TYPS Sheet for Mental Health Professionals

As a mental health professional, you have a critical role in the foster care system by providing direct care that aids youth on their journey towards healing and overcoming trauma.

Click here to read the full Mental Health Professionals TYPS Sheet.