§4 ch9: Permanent Outcomes for Children
9.8 Concurrent Permanency Planning
Concurrent Permanency Planning is a process of working towards reunification while at the same time, establishing and implementing an alternative permanency plan for a child. In other words, concurrent permanency planning is a way to establish a Plan A and a Plan B. Concurrent Permanency Planning is intended to reduce the length of stay in care. Concurrent rather than sequential planning efforts are utilized to more quickly move a child from the uncertainty of foster care to the security of a safe and stable permanent family. Sequential Planning occurs when workers wait until the primary plan fails to begin the concurrent plan. An example of sequential planning would be waiting until the plan of reunification fails to begin an ICPC referral for relatives out of state. This delays permanency. Concurrent Permanency Planning should begin within 24 to 72 hours from the child’s removal from the home. The Children’s Service Worker and the family support team must determine the most appropriate concurrent permanency plan for the child as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from custody. All decisions made up front affect the ability to implement the concurrent plan at the time that it becomes necessary.
The concurrent permanency plan should include steps to return the child to the home as well as a plan setting forth reasonable efforts to place the child for adoption, guardianship, or in another approved permanent placement. Reasonable efforts to finalize an alternate permanency plan may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify the child and family.
If a child has been in placement for more than one year, and the current permanency plan is not working, the family support team should consider changing the permanency plan to the concurrent permanency plan. If it appears the child will be unable to return to their family of origin, the FST, with the involvement of the child and family, shall develop alternate plans for the child using concurrent planning and meeting the court and ASFA timeframes. This concurrent plan must include placing with relatives unless contrary to the welfare of the child.
Each case plan with a primary permanency plan of reunification should have an appropriate concurrent plan in the event that the primary case plan is not able to occur.
9.8.1 Goals of Concurrent Permanency Planning
Concurrent Permanency Planning uses a mix of family-centered casework and legal strategies designed to:
- Achieve early permanency for children
- Decrease children’s length of stay in alternative care
- Minimize the negative impact of placement on children
- Reduce the number of moves and relationship disruptions children experience in alternative care
- Develop a network of permanency planning resource parents (relatives or non-relatives) who can work towards reunification and also serve as permanency resources for children, and
- Maintain continuity in children’s family and sibling relationships.