Concurrent planning

(30 Posts)

Hi all

Does anyone know anything about Concurrent planning.

www.first4adoption.org.uk/being-an-adoptive-parent/fostering-options/concurrent-planning/

We have never considered it before but we are now because we think our area might do it now, they did not used to (I think). I had always assumed we would not have a baby since the mantra of the council had always been (a few years ago) there are no babies! My 5 main questions are:

1) Have you done it and how did it work out for you?
2) What are the 'risks'/'benefits' of this as opposed to 'regular' adoption?
3) How likely is it that babies will go 'back' to their birth family?
4) What are the implications for work leave?
5) Do you receive a fostering allowance?

Thanks a million.

Please PM me if you want to keep your answers private.

Thanks drspouse that makes a lot of sense. In our area this doesn't seem to be an option yet but I expect others reading will be interested if it is operating where they are.

drspouse Tue 10-Dec-13 14:42:49

Time off depends on the company, in a year or so you'll get proper adoption pay but for the moment it tends to be negotiating unpaid time off, then you get the fostering allowance which is a bit more generous than SAP.

If you are a foster carer you are allowed to negotiate flexible working, and flexible working can mean unpaid time off, so you do at least have the right to ask. They have to think of a darn good reason why you shouldn't get it, and from a business sense it has the same effect as adoption or maternity leave, so they'd be hard pressed to object.

Concurrent planning does not really seem an option for us at the moment, it is too new in our area but I do feel it is the way to go for children who have a very slim chance of returning to birth parents. I can see there could be issues for birth and adoptive parents but for the child it does seem like a good option.

hifi Sun 08-Dec-13 10:34:24

Hi, up to now 5 babies have gone back to BM out of about 50 placed.If you have a BM who turns up to contact it can be a slog. Our baby's BM turned up 90% of the time so they increased contact to 3 time a week and extended the hours. There are also the medical check ups and social worker meetings,it can be full on.
My company let me take the time off as adoption leave,the same as maternity.
Don't underestimate the impact on just you if the baby goes back,it impactes the whole extended family and friends.

tea4two4three Sun 08-Dec-13 10:04:06

Gosh Italian, you couldn't sleep last night :-(
In my LA concurrent planning is concidered fostering and as such you receive payment from them to look after the child. It would not be concidered adoption leave until the court order had been signed to approve the child for adoption, then it would become official, their payments would stop, you would become the child's official guardian and your leave would start.
Whilst you were concurrent then you'd have to take holiday or unpaid leave from work to do so (if they were happy for you to do this) but I've recently read a post where a year down the line the parents(?) are still classed as concurrent as the child's family keep pulling relatives out of the woodwork that need to be concidered before the court can approve the adoption.
I can totally see the benefits of concurrent, especially for the baby so they are able to form attachments and not be moved, but it's an arse of a process.

Does anyone know how it goes in turms of taking leave from work if you are doing concurrant planning?

Thanks to all who shared. I am really not sure how I feel. I think if we did not have a birth child I would feel more open to it. I do feel it would be harder for dd as we have not talked in terms of adoption.

I guess everyone is very different, in terms of how they feel about fostering. I have a friend who fosters and has older childrens as well and she seems to cope very well with the children moving on to their 'forever families'.

Excitedmama can i ask how quickly you knew you wanted to adopt your little one rather than fostering? Don't reply if you do not wish to.

excitedmamma Wed 04-Dec-13 22:11:53

Hi... I'm not sure my situation is exactly the same as CP but I do have an insight into an element of it...

I'm sorry if the details are vague... don't want to identify myself..

I was a foster carer. I fostered a child from a very young age... there was basically no chance of this child being returned to BP's.. plan was always adoption but certain issues made child "difficult to place" (how I hate that phrase... still... better than 'unadoptable' which is what their SW referred to them as!!) ... I wanted child to stay and LA agreed

LA reversed decision as issues improved and placed child up for adoption... I can't tell you how much this destroyed me... I had (seriously) bonded with this child and yet felt completely powerless in these decision... lived under the threat of someone coming forward to adopt and the incredibly hard process of introductions to get my head around...

Every day my heart broke a little bit more... It broke me...

I applaud anyone who can open themselves up to this reality/possibility...

The feeling of utter powerlessness was overwhelming... I fought, fought and fought again.. used everything I could possibly do to have this child remain with me... and... I succeeded... thank GOD nobody came forward who felt able to take on the childs issues and after threatening legal action the LA finally backed down... I no longer foster..

Like I said, its not a direct comparison by any stretch, but it is real about living with that uncertainty, allowing yourself to 'hope' and believe and having your life well and truly in the hands of (sometimes very inadequate) social workers...

My story happens to have a very happy ending... but I feel incredibly angry that the first 12 months of that childs life were spent living under a deep and heavy threat of loss and despair...

I'm not sure why I felt I had to share... I guess I feel like I did it the (incredibly) hard way... saying that, I know the full history of my child, I have cared for them since a very very young age, we haven't had to go through 'introductions' (as such) and encounter loss... in principle I applaud CP, I just know how incredibly hard it is to live with the uncertainty on a daily basis.... I don't know how I got through that time, I really really don't...

Good luck to anyone who feels brave enough to enter into this.. I suppose I'd already fallen in love with the child so that gave me an edge.. although in some ways that made it harder...

x x

Meita Wed 04-Dec-13 19:40:54

drspouse, that is something we have thought as well. However I believe with very young children, the disruption rate in traditional adoption is very very low. So yes, the chances of child going away from you might be similar in CP with babies and traditional adoption with 'older' children. But I believe disruptions with very young children in traditional adoptions are really quite rare.

Also, they are not the same circumstances. In a disrupted adoption it would usually be you coming to the very hard conclusion/decision that it is not working. Whereas in CP when baby goes away, that might well be very much against your wishes and not your choice at all. Additionally, you might firmly believe (in disagreement with the judge) that the baby you have grown to love and have cared for, is going back to an awful, dangerous situation. But there is nothing you can do about it.

drspouse Wed 04-Dec-13 16:39:38

We have thought of doing this and as well as assessing the probability of a particular child returning to BP (I think it is "going back" in this sense as they have already been with BP, even if just before birth), I am bearing in mind that there is also a disruption rate with traditional adoptions that is not zero. In fact it's about the same.

So just as you need to think "what is the risk this child will not live with me forever" if doing concurrency, you need to think that with older child traditional adoptions too.

Middlesexmummy Wed 04-Dec-13 15:49:59

Hi
As some if you know , we did concurrent planning and it worked for us as well ...

Kewcumber Wed 04-Dec-13 13:14:53

good point Meita - in fact on an individual basis the return rate is either 100% or 0% - they don't return 15% of a child!

Meita Wed 04-Dec-13 12:02:02

Just one more thought, I guess in the end it doesn't matter what the overall 'return to BM' rate is. What matters for your decision-making is merely what the chances are of returning to BM, for this particular child. Your LA may show you the profile of a child where chances for them going back to BM are substantial (too high for you), but then they might show you the profile of a child where chances for them going back to BM are virtually nil.(though I wouldn't just go by the SW's word but do my own thinking here too)
I think you don't have to (but you can) decide definitely for or against CP, based on average 'return to BM' rates; but rather, you can decide in each individual case, if you would consider taking THIS child in a CP placement, or if you want to wait for the next proposed link (which may or may not be on the CP route).
Similarly, we were told that if we say yes we would consider CP, they would not make us wait until a CP placement came up, which could be a long time to wait. Rather, they would show us profiles of children on both routes, and as with every proposed link, we would have to decide based on the available information. But if we said a general no to CP, they wouldn't show us profiles of children on the CP route, obviously.

Kewcumber Wed 04-Dec-13 11:48:01

I considered concurrent planning as it was a very succesful route for single adopters to get a younger child than was possible in the olden days when I was adopting. I know of people where it has worked very successfully.

In the end I decided against for practical reasons - as the only wage earner I really couldn't afford to live on a foster carers allowance (at the time - I probably could now!), take adoption leave for a year then have to do it all again if the child was successfully returned to birth parents. Even a 15% (which is whats generally quoted) return rate would be too high for me as it wouldn't effectively have scuppered any chance of me trying again until I'd replenished my savings.

I'm not sure thats applicable to you but something to consider - not just the emotional effects of the child being returned but also the practical effects.

Moomoomie Wed 04-Dec-13 11:41:30

Our LA do not do concurrency, I think they are thinking of bringing it in.
For us it would have been an ideal situation when dd3 was born, as she is birth sister to our older two.
She could have come home at 6 weeks old from SCBU rather than at six months after having two sets of foster carers, especially as BM stopped visiting her in SCBU.
I'm not sure how well it would work with having a bc, as you will not be able to say to her for certain that this is your sister forever. Only you know your dd and whether she would be able to cope with a baby leaving.
Also, with contact most days it can be more difficult to bond with the baby and is a very exhausting time ( foster carers I know have said this )
Good luck with what you decide.

Thanks Devora.

Devora Wed 04-Dec-13 08:26:53

Italian I am going to PM you.

HappySunflower wow, so pleased it worked well for you.

Thanks Meita I am sorry I did not mean to be overly sensitive, I had already thought about that one! I had someone today refer to a child staying with concurrent planning family as the best scenario and I felt uncomfortable with it!

I think reading about birth parents etc I am kind of trying to be sensiteve and thinking myself into the scenarios. That is why this whole adoption thing is so draining. I am living these scenarios in my sleep! But of course it is actually a good thing to be aware of all the angles. If that make sense.

Sadly, for us it is really too late to start talking to dd of looking after a baby, which is why for us I do feel we have missed the boat on concurrant planning. I am not sure it would have been right for us but I really feel it is right for a lot of babies who will not go to their birth families. I wish UK adoption leave etc reflected concurrent planning as regular adoption. I expect it does not yet but maybe in some places employers are sensitive and give the same right?

Meita, it is a great thing you are considering. How old is DS? PM me if you prefer and please do update me if willing, because I am a fan of concurrant planning haring your enthusiastic words. (And yes totally see your point about security.)

HappySunflower Wed 04-Dec-13 00:20:07

1. Yes, I did it and it worked out vey positively for us.
2. Benefits: having one of the youngest children from an early stage. Risks: there are a lot of unknowns about the child's expected outcomes/development. The child is likely to have contact sessions with birth parents, this often takes place 3-4 times a week and can be very disruptive to the child's (and your) routine. During this time, the local authority are essentially parallel planning for the child's future; you hold no parental responsibility and only once a decision is made that leads to a Placement Order for adoption being granted, will you be considered as the child's prospective adopter.
3. Children placed under concurrency tend to be those where there is a vey slim probability that they will go home to their birth parents. That said, it does happen, and I know one family who were devastated to be told that the child they had loved for six months could not stay with them for this reason. I know at least a dozen people who have adopted successfully through the concurrency route though smile
4. Usually a period of unpaid leave is needed, until such time as you are successfully matched. At this point adoption leave and pay kicks in.
5. The LA that I adopted through pay a flat rate of (iirc£ £230 per week as a fostering allowance.

Hope this helps!
Feel free to PM me if you have any more specific questions related to my own experience.

Meita Tue 03-Dec-13 23:30:24

Italian I didn't mean to imply that YOU thought of it as a risk, just that some people do.
And I totally agree that when you add a birth child into the equation, you get the risks associated with what it would mean to them too.

I think that in fostering in general, there is more risk of mistakes being made that would lead to birth parents finding out your address, than in adoption in general. Just because everything is still so much closer to the birth parents. For instance you bring the baby to a hospital appointment, the hospital sends the results to birth parents, but don't blank your address. It shouldn't happen but it does. Whereas in 'normal' adoption, the link between the child and their birth parents usually is much weaker, by the time you take your adoptive child to a hospital appointment, there is little chance they even have the birth parents' address on file, so even if they meant to, they couldn't make this mistake.

Because we are still considering CP (we are by no means sure that it is for us), we are absolutely NOT talking to DS about having a new sibling. I think it would be very hard for a child to have a new baby introduced as their sibling, then to be moved away after maybe a year ..
We think that IF we do CP we would communicate (to everyone, not just DS) that we were fostering. Which is nothing but the truth! And if baby were to stay, we would go on to say we were now going to adopt our foster child. I think gaining a foster sibling as a 'forever sibling' would be much more feasible, than potentially losing what was thought of as forever sibling.
So as long as we are still considering CP, we are not mentioning possible future new siblings to DS. Instead, we have gently introduced the topic that some babies can't be looked after by their parents, so someone else needs to look after them, and maybe that is something we might do.

going back not going bad!!!

Thanks one and all

Chocy thanks will read that study.

Meita thank for your very details thoughts. I had no really thought that carers might find themselves with untrue alligations against them.
Scary.

Is there more chance of birth families finding out your address with concurrent planning than with ordinary adoption?

Meita I know what you mean, it sound cruel to say the risk of a child going back but just for the record I didn't say the risk of the child going bad, I said 'risks'/'benefits'. Clearly if it is right for the child to go 'back' to the parents, it is right.

Having a birth child means it may be too much of a 'risk' for me because she may find it hard to bond with baby knowing he/she may go back, that is one of the risks.

BlueHairedFreak Tue 03-Dec-13 23:07:52

Depending on where you live I know there's a Concurrent Planning info evening on Monday 9th December being run by Adoption Matters Northwest and Caritas Care. Might give you a chance to ask some questions?

Meita Tue 03-Dec-13 23:02:50

1) no, but we are considering it
2) I think it is a bit sad that people talk about the 'risk' of the child going back to BM. I prefer to say there is a 'chance' for this to happen, but if you trust SS and the courts to do a good job, this would be a positive outcome, for the child, and that's what we'd all want, right? For us, the concurrent carers, it is no more and no less a 'risk' than what foster carers do all the time, moving the child onwards/back home.
The real risks I see is that your LA might have very little experience with this. I believe it works best if fostering and adoption teams really work together. I have heard that in many LAs this is not the case. The risks are that the prospective adopters are given the wrong impression, they go into it naively, not aware of the realities of the situation, for instance re contact.
Further risks lie in the very young age of the children, though actually those are uncertainties rather than risks.
We have been told that you as concurrent carers risk things that foster carers would be aware of, but adopters not so much: That allegations are made against you (by BM for example), whereupon SS are forced to investigate, meaning you might find yourself/your birth child being investigated by SS as to if your child is safe with you… the stuff of nightmares IMO. Or that there is some cock-up somewhere and birth parents are informed of your address, which sometimes is a minor thing, but in some cases can mean that you would need to consider moving/wouldn't feel safe in your own home anymore.

Benefits, to the child and to you: Fewer moves, maybe no move at all except from hospital to yours. In a steady, forever home from a very young age; child is with you in those crucial months where primary attachments are usually formed. You know everything that happens to child, from birth/very young, ergo less uncertainty about unknown past experiences. In some cases you get to know the birth parents (more than just one short meeting) which can be extremely helpful in the long term - you will be in a much better place to help your child understand their past/what happened.

3) That depends on how your LA uses concurrency. In theory, concurrency means that they are still working with the birth family to enable the baby to be able to return. So in theory they must believe there is a real chance for this to happen. At the same time (i.e. concurrently, hence the name) they are working on the alternative, which is adoption. In practice, from talking to SW from several different LA, it seems every LA handles this differently. So there is no general answer, you need to find out from your LA, in which situations they consider CP. And when you are 'linked' with a child for a CP placement, think for yourself as well.

4) During the fostering stage, you can't work. But if you just give notice and leave, you lose any adoption pay/leave rights. So for now it depends wholly on your employer's good will. I have heard of cases where people got indeterminate unpaid leave for the fostering stage, followed by adoption leave when the placement legally changed into adoption.

5) Yes, you should receive a fostering allowance. It might be the bare minimum, or it might be quite generous. I have heard of between ca. £170/week and ca. £350/week. But only until the placement changes into a adoption placement.

Hope this helps a little - I will be watching with interest to see if people who have actually done it will turn up and contribute!

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