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Concurrent Planning - Adoption/Fostering

(29 Posts)
oinker Thu 04-Aug-11 19:35:30

Concurrent planning is done by foster carers who are employed by social services. The primary goal is of family reunification, while at the same time, they are also developing an alternative permanency plan for the child. This alternate plan will often include adoption by the foster carer as the alternative to family reunification. If the family reunification efforts fail, then the alternate plan will already be in place and well on its way to completion. Concurrent planning is intended to reduce the total period of time a child is in foster care before being permanently placed with a family.

I wanted to check to see if there are any other people out there who have done concurrent planning with a view to adopting a new born baby.
I am doing concurrent planning at the moment and having already adopted this baby's sibling am interested in talking with others out there who wish to speak about this journey to family life.

Hopefully there are enough of you out there to start a thread.

NanaNina Fri 05-Aug-11 22:51:48

Sorry I have no personal experience. I was however a sw and tm mgr of a Fostering & Adoption Team for a LA - approx 30 years experience, now retired. I think concurrent planning is a brilliant idea, though I know that it's a big ask in a way, as I think foster carers are expected to co-operate in the reunification plan whilst at the same time, are probably bonding with the baby/child and are hoping that they will be able to adopt him/her. It is as you say a way of ensuring that a baby or child does not have to move from foster carer to prospective adoptors if he/she is not returned to birthparents, and that continuity is so important in terms of the child's attachment issues isn't it.

I tried (unsuccessfully) to get senior managers to agree to launching a concurrent planning scheme in the LA that I worked for, but there was never agreement. I have often wondered how many LAs have had the good sense to have such a scheme, which is without doubt acting in the child's best interests.

Hope some MNs with personal experience come along.

hester Sat 06-Aug-11 00:01:01

Sorry, I don't have experience of concurrent planning. I would have liked to, though: dd came to us at 10 months, and she could have come to us at birth.

I agree that it should be more widespread.

psiloveyou Sat 06-Aug-11 12:29:59

We sort of came by our dd this way but it was not planned. We fostered her from 3 days old. The plan was for her to eventually live with her birth father. We decided when she was 5 months old that if the plans didn't work out we would like to keep her. It was very difficult as we grew to love her knowing we may have to give her up. At the same time we had to work closely with the birth parents to try and give them the skills they needed in order to have her back.
In the end dad withdrew and mum asked us to adopt her as she realised she wouldn't be able to cope. It was a long process, DD was 2.5 before we went to court.
Our LA doesn't actually promote concurrant planning but it is very supportive of most FCs who decide to adopt. I think maybe it works better for FCs because they are not going into the process wanting to adopt. It is more gradual and the carer is maybe more accepting of the risk of failure. People who are only interested in adopting are not so likely to want to risk falling in love with a child only to have to give it up if the birth parents are able to manage.
I think it is a brilliant scheme. It's a shame it's not more widely used.

mrsgiggles1 Sun 23-Mar-14 07:49:34

We are approved to be concurrent carers. First baby we were put forward for was delayed 3 months due to new information kept coming through on court dates, and now placement has been cancelled entirely as it's delayed again. Thankfully we never met her or I guess it would have been more painful for us. It's still embers difficult as you build hopes and dreams for the future as soon as you hear about a child.

We are waiting to see if another concurrent placement will come along

Our LA is new to concurrent planning and we do often feel like their Guinnea pigs. When we point out areas that could be improved or support could be added we are told it's not needed only for them to realize a few months down the line we were right

I'm really nervous about doing it again and binding with a baby we may lose, but also passionate about giving them the best start we can which ever way it turns out

muppetdawg Sun 19-Jul-15 06:46:10

Hi I know this is now a few months old now but wanted to see if anyone went through with this.

We are doing foster to adopt although we were approved initially for adoption.

We have been given information but as it is so new to our LA.

We are thrilled at having the chance but hopes continue to go up and down each week. Be nice to see if there is anyone else on the foster to adopt route. smile

Velvet1973 Sun 19-Jul-15 07:24:17

We did but slightly differently to normal. We were linked with our little one when he was 2 months old, however due to the court cases last year and the high levels of uncertainty of placement orders being issued our LA decided to wait until placement order was issued. We were linked in September and they were hoping placement order would be issued at the interim hearing in October. It wasn't and it went to a final hearing which was then adjourned a week meaning placement order didn't get issued until December.
We started intros the morning after placement order was issued so less than 24 hours later. It meant we didn't have to wait for a matching panel which would have been February at the earliest meaning intros March so it meant avoiding 3 months delay.

Zephyroux Sun 19-Jul-15 08:00:55

We have been approved as foster to adopt carers and are now waiting for a link. We had one possible link with an unborn baby but this didn't work out. For us, the key factor in managing the uncertainty so far has been having a really great Social Worker who has been open and really creative in coming up with ideas to support us through the process.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Sun 19-Jul-15 08:15:02

We've already adopted and not by this method. When asked we said we couldn't do it because we knew we couldn't deal with having to say goodbye and after our feelings when our AO was contested (unsuccessfully) I know we made right decision. I have the upmost respect for anyone who does this because I know I don't have the strength to do so.

However, reason for post!... As the OP put such a well worded description of concurrent planning I wondered if someone, with more experience than me, and better use of the English language, could do so for foster to adopt as we recently had another thread where someone was saying we should define the difference...This seems like a prime time to do it with such a good definition at the start! smile

Velvet1973 Sun 19-Jul-15 08:29:56

Foster to adopt is the same principle in that early placement is the goal but the expectation from ss is that reunification to birth family is highly unlikely. The cases they choose for foster to adopt would generally be where there are previous siblings that have been removed recently and no changes to birth family situation. There are no certainties but it's as sure as ss can be that the child can not be placed with any birth family member.
Concurrency is where there is a higher degree of uncertainty and ss still have avenues to pursue to try and get the child back with birth family and this will be their aim.
Obviously the key with foster to adopt is you have to be able to trust your agency to have explored all the avenues and be completely open with you as to the situation. There was a recent thread on here where an adopter had done foster to adopt but it transpired ss were still assessing extended birth family. This should never be the case for foster to adopt, it should be a concurrency placement in this instance. Extremely sadly for the adopter the birth grandparent was deemed suitable and the child was removed from the adopter.
Although foster to adopt does seem to be on the surface of it a "safe bet" in comparison to concurrency it's important to keep in mind that ultimately it's the courts that decide and no one can predict what happens then.
We truly believed we could cope if our lo was removed from us, after him being placed for 7 months now I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine how we would have coped if he had been.

slkk Sun 19-Jul-15 08:33:06

Yes, I wish. I was also wondering what the difference was between the two schemes.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Sun 19-Jul-15 08:36:27

Why thank you Velvet. A well worded, clear description! This I'm sure can be the thread to copy and paste the link for when others bring this up in future! smile

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Sun 19-Jul-15 08:40:14

slkk ...It's a common question I think, it was all quite new to our Agency when we were approved and they seemed to be using the terms interchangeably, so for some time I actually thought they were same thing, it was earlier threads on MN that taught me otherwise! smile

Velvet1973 Sun 19-Jul-15 10:24:18

It took me ages to try and get the difference. Even when we had said yes to it I still wasn't 100% sure I really understood. I think this is also the problem in that a lot of sw's don't either!

slkk Sun 19-Jul-15 11:40:42

Thanks, velvet. That is a very clear description.

MrsDeVere Sun 19-Jul-15 11:55:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Velvet1973 Sun 19-Jul-15 14:47:47

Hi MrsDeVere,
I would say you were still doing concurrency. You would be asked as a concurrency fosterer to be prepared to adopt if reunification wasn't going to be possible.
In both concurrency and foster to adopt if reunification is not possible the outcome is the same, the foster carers go on to adopt the child. The difference being with concurrency ss will be working with birth parents to help them make the changes they need fir the child to be returned to them.
That plan won't obviously work in a lot of cases but it's not as clear cut from the outset.
It is absolutely an amazing thing to be able to do for a child but with the majority of adopters coming to adoption from an infertility route it's an even bigger ask of people who have already endured quite a lot already.
I am so thankful in the end that our agency did things the way they did, it was absolutely the right thing for us to have that extra security but they used foster to adopt to speed up the ridiculous delays between linking and placement.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Sun 19-Jul-15 15:30:25

Just as a wonder, is foster to adopt and concurrency only for babies as a general rule?

Just wondering how it would work with a toddler. If they call the temporary carer/future parent mummy/daddy and then are returned to birth parents, that seems extra confusing and disruptive to the child, alternatively if they don't and then they become permenant, then the names change I would think that could have less of an impact on the stability others adopted get from being introduced to their adoptive parents as 'forever parents'. Although it works when foster carers adopt their foster children and that happens, so maybe not!

I kind of sit on the fence with this whole topic. I can see the benefits to the child obviously but I think it is too big an ask of childless couples who've been waiting years for a child (I can put our children above our needs in every other way) AND I don't think it is fair on birth parents (for concurrency) as essentially you're telling them we are working with you but we're putting in a back up because we think you're probably not going to be able to do it. I think it feeds that conspiracy theory about SS hiding their intentions.....or does it? I don't know. I could have that completely wrong.

Realistically we said we would only do it if the BP of our children had another child who she was unable to care for, figuring that even if returned to her care, or another family members, what a lovely opportunity for our children to live with their sibling for at least a little bit. Plus as we now have children we atleast wouldnt be left with an empty house. However, I've now changed my mind on that, because what impact would it not working have on our AC? I'm not convinced a great one. They have siblings they've lived with they can no longer see, it's not good.

I do also worry that with the large number of adopters and fewer children waiting at present, some people might say yes to it when they have doubts they could deal with it all if it when wrong. If I was told it could take 2-3 years to find a match but the other way maybe quicker I could see myself saying well I won't rule it out, rather than, no its not something I can handle. It's not the same as a disability or extra need, in my mind anyway, because you're not having to worry what the impact to the child would be if you couldn't cope because the child by that point would be gone, so it's a risk you can take.

Like I said...anyone who can do either I have a great deal of respect for and I can certainly see with babies (only babies due to my above concern with toddlers) the massive positive impact it could have to attachment etc.

Sorry, that's my thoughts all spilled out on it...but in case anyone is thinking something similar, you're not alone! It's definitely just my thoughts and opinions though, that's all!

fasparent Sun 19-Jul-15 16:21:58

Can work out complicated, dependant of numbers of eventual sibling's, Know of groups of 6 and more, some placed with as many as 4 Adoptee family's, can still work out well though with understanding/support and co-operation of Adoptees. Our Group consists of 11 children, all now adults and still close too each other with family's of their own thanks too good understanding of their Adoptive Parents and contact meetups ( all Family's togeather) , cant say it's been easy, but all family's have ups and downs, Adoption or otherwise.

Don't think there is any consistent solution of fostering too adopt or concurrent adoption , each will be different on merit and how things are handled. A good crystal ball is required for the tool kit.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Sun 19-Jul-15 16:27:44

I think the problem with siblings arises when some aren't adopted and face to face contact can't happen, as is in our case and would likely be the case if concurrent or foster to adopt went in favour of birth family sad

And 11 shock wow, that's amazing and so lovely all still close smile

StaceyAndTracey Sun 19-Jul-15 18:20:49

" The cases they choose for foster to adopt would generally be where there are previous siblings that have been removed recently and no changes to birth family situation. There are no certainties but it's as sure as ss can be that the child can not be placed with any birth family member."

The problem with this is that nearly couples whose children are in care have very chaotic lives. They are often not in regular contact with all of their extended family because the problems that lead to losing a child ( addictions, violence, mental illness, involvement with the criminal justice system ) are the same ones that often lead to being estranged from your family .

Some birth parents deliberately withhold information about their family, or give misleading information to SS. If they have fallen out with their or their partners family, they may not want them to " get their child " .

So it's not that easy for SS to say that their have definitely been no changes in the circumstances of everyone in both extended families , and that there is little or no chance that the child might be placed with them .

Also family members, ( just like some adopters ) are more likely to keep a new baby than an older child who has been in the care system for a while and is a bit of a handful

Velvet1973 Sun 19-Jul-15 19:14:03

Iwishkidsliketomatoes your points are very valid. I'm only aware of these arrangements for babies probably for the reasons you describe.
We had the same thoughts too regarding any future siblings that there may be in the future. We would want to give that child the best chance in life by early placement but would be concerned on our lo the effects of the child then bring returned to birth family, how do we explain BF could keep that child but not our lo? We decided should that situation arise we would ask to do what we have done with our lo and that is foster to adopt only once the placement order has been made.
StaceyandTracey in those instances ss should be looking at a normal adoption path or concurrency. They should only be looking at foster to adopt where there are no unexplored avenues. Our lo had siblings removed quite shortly before his birth, both birth parents and birth grandparents were known and had been assessed within the preceding 6 months to our lo's birth to try and keep custody of siblings. This is exactly the sort of case that is right for foster to adopt because there aren't the unknowns regarding who Birth Family are , their suitability to have custody and also the timescales of previous assessments etc. A relinquished baby would also be another clear cut foster to adopt option. So they do exist but probably not in the numbers people think.

Mama1980 Sun 19-Jul-15 20:56:45

My case was not a typical concurrency one given that there are complicated and pretty unique legal factors.
My dd2 was placed in my care the day she was born with bm consent. I already have custody of her older half birth sibling. The adoption order came through by the time she was 8 months old. Again with full bm consent. It enabled me to be with my dd literally from the day she was born, which has to be better for all involved and was the direct aim of ss they worked hard to put this in place.
I have to say my experience with ss was much better than with my elder dd and the fact that other legal factors are involved allowed for a degree of certainty. I'm happy to discuss in more detail but please message me if so.
A couple I met during this experience though found it so much tougher, the child placed with them was later found kinship carers. I think in general the problem with both cc planning and the foster to adopt scheme is that so many people go into it with so called guarantees, that simply are unrealistically offered.

MrsDeVere Mon 20-Jul-15 00:04:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mama1980 Mon 20-Jul-15 18:17:30

That's dreadful MrsDV and precisely what in my opinion is wrong with the system and is causing issues. They need to sort out the existing system before starting new schemes every few months it seems. Cc/fta works in some cases but only if other avenues have been exhausted and there are no suitable kinship carers. They need to check this first every single time and thoroughly. I doubt if my eldest couldn't speak ss would even have thought of contacting me.
I know numbers applying to the foster to adopt scheme are falling dramatically in my area, too Many stories of children being placed and then a kinship carer coming forward, the child is then removed heartbreaking for the foster parents but far far worse for the child whose experience could have been different had ss fully checked, searched and the courts ruled on kinship in the first place.

As an aside I hope you and yours are well? P uses her blanket every day smile

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