- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Adoption
- / Concurrency Planning
Concurrency planning is supported by leading child care psychiatrists and peadiatricians. The importance of avoiding delay in permanence planning and decision making for children is enshrined best practice. Concurrent planning puts the child's needs at the centre of social work decision-making.
- That children should be brought up within their families wherever this is possible, but that any delays in achieving permanence for children can have a severe impact on their health and development.
- Concurrency works to avoid drift and delay in care planning for very young children, ensuring that the child's needs for a permanent home is fully addressed at the earliest stages. Whilst rehabilitation to the parent's care is being considered, should the parents prove unable to make the changes required to successfully care for their child, he/she will achieve an adoptive placement without further moves and disruption of attachment.
- Where very young children are referred for adoption planning, consideration will be given as to whether a concurrent placement may be appropriate
- The child must either be subject to care proceedings or care proceedings are highly probable in the near future (ie in respect of an unborn child);
- A concurrent placement would not be made unless the Adoption & Permanence Panel has made a Best Interest recommendation that the child should be placed for adoption.
- The family history must indicate that adoption is a clear potential outcome for the child unless significant changes are made by the birth family; (e.g there is a history of other children having been removed and/or adopted, serious concerns about a parent's mental health, drug and/or alcohol misuse, domestic violence, chaotic lifestyle, dangerous network or significant parental learning disability.)
- The possibility of an initial placement with family members has been explored and there are no suitable carers.
- All prospective adopters will be given information about concurrency planning
- For those prospective adopters who wish to consider concurrency planning, they will receive additional advice, information and training, and will participate in a Skills to Foster training programme.
- They must be able to demonstrate a high level of empathy for the birth parent's position and demonstrate a good understanding of how the difficulties in the birth families life has led to their present predicament.
- The prospective adopters/concurrent carers need to demonstrate an ability to manage frequent contact with birth parents who may be angry and/or upset.
- The assessing social worker will need to be satisfied that the potential concurrent carers have developed a good understanding of the developmental stages and needs of the child and in particular, be aware of the additional sensitivities involved in this process. It is important that carers recognise and accept that if the birth parents are able to make the necessary changes, it is in the child's best interests to return to their care.
- It is therefore crucially important that prospective concurrent carers are assessed as sufficiently robust and resilient to cope with the uncertainty of concurrency and a possible return of the child to his/her parents.
- It is made very clear to the prospective carers that they do not have a voice in the Court or Tribunal process; they do not have parental responsibility for the child placed with them; and their role in the child's life unless a Court or Tribunal deems otherwise is that of foster carer.
- The Prospective Adopter's report is presented to the Adoption & Permanence Panel, who make a recommendation as to whether the applicants are suitable to adopt.
- Once approved as suitable to adopt, a brief addendum report, together with the Minutes of the Adoption and Permanence Panel and the Prospective Adopter's Report, is presented to the next Fostering Panel.
- Fostering Panel make a recommendation as to whether the Prospective Adopters should also be approved as foster carers, specifically for the purpose of concurrency planning.
- Once approved by both Adoption & Permanence Panel and Fostering Panel, the prospective adopters are available for the matching and placement of a child or children on a concurrency basis. For matching to take place, the child must have a Best Interests decision, and a Community Parenting Order must have been made, unless the child's parents consent to the adoption.
- Once the Department obtains a Community Parenting Order and Adoption & Permanence Panel have recommended the match between the child and the prospective adopter, the child's status becomes that of a child placed for adoption, and any fostering allowances will cease.
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