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Concurrent planning questions including birth children

(13 Posts)
ChoccyJules Mon 22-Oct-12 16:32:03

I have been reading up about concurrent planning. I had heard it mentioned on the news over the past year and have now discovered that our LA works with Coram to do this type of adoption of babies. It sounds like a good idea from the child's point of view, as it takes away an extra move from foster care to potential parents.

There also seems to be an extra emphasis on working with the birth parents and baby possibly moving back to them rather than going on to be adopted by the current carers. I can see this is also thought to be best for the child if they are going to be safe and cared for; does anyone with more experience know how often this tends to happen when children have been removed? Also, when children are not on the concurrent planning scheme, are their SWs also looking to place them back with their families if possible? I had always assumed that once the child was deemed to be for adoption that was the direction things went in. I guess I am thinking about this as it requires a slightly different mindset of the potential adoptive parents, to know that they may only be fostering the child and may not go on to adopt them. I have always thought I wouldn't be strong enough to foster then 'hand back' children, it wasn't necessarily a role I thought I was right for. It's tricky as I can see why this way has been deemed best for the child, who is the most important part of the equation.

Lastly, do LAs/agencies do concurrent planning if a family has a BC? I could see how the adults could commit to this type of arrangement but would be worried about the effect on a BC if a child came to live with them and they didn't necessarily know whether they were staying and then they did indeed leave. I have a 4 yr old DD so am really bothered about this.

Sorry, long but I know you guys will have some answers for me!

Lilka Mon 22-Oct-12 17:56:20

Hi Choccy,

Concurrent planning and a standard adoption are very different things in amny ways

Standard - child is taken into FC, with a plan of going home. As the months tick by, it becomes obvious that isn't going to happen so the plan changes to adoption, and the LA will go to court for a placement order. Once a child has a placement order with an adoption plan (this allows an adoption agency to send the child to live with adoptive parents) then adoption is the only plan, and going back to the birth parents isn't in the equation at all. If you did a standard adoption then you would be bringing home a child who will be adopted by you. It is as certain as you'll ever get. Theoretically, the birth parents can ask permission to appeal the adoption, but no one has ever succeeded doing that, so unless you disrupt it yourself, the child you bring home is your child from the moment you meet them

On the other hand, with concurrent care, adoption is not the plan at first. When the baby is taken into care and sent to live with concurrent carer, the plan is to send the baby home, BUT because of the parent's circumstances, that is considered quite unlikely to happen, and so the back up plan (from the off) is adoption by the concurrent carers if going home fails. Hopefully the agency should be carefully selecting which babies are the most likely to need adoption, but that's not any guaruntee. Rarely, some parents can pull off quite amazing lifestyle changes considering what it was like before the child came into care. So yes, a different mindset is required. You are a foster carer, and will only adopt if going home fails. This is very unlike a standard adoption, as I said above. Over months, the plan will change to solely either going home or adoption. If adoption, the agency will get a placement order and from there the process goes mostly like a standard adoption, except the baby is already with you

I have seen various stats for adoption vs. going back, and I think it's around 10-15% return to the parents, but it will vary. But if you are one of the ones whe return a baby, the statistics don't matter, so you do have to be prepared for that as a possibility from the off

To the best of my knowledge, no one will stop you doing concurrent care if you have a BC. After all, many many foster carers have their own children as well! It is for you to decide whether your BC can handle the possible return of baby. If you think it's too much risk for her, then do a standard adoption, so she will only meet her definite brother or sister not just a potential one

Also consider this - with concurrent care you have to be prepared to do things only a foster carer would do, for instance handling frequent contact with the parents. In a standard adoption, you wll probably be writing one or two letters a year, and/or one or two visits a year especially with siblings, more rarely with the birth parents. On the other hand, as a concurrent carer, baby will probably be starting with at least weekly contact, but I heard one set of carers who started with 5x a week contact. This would be reduced and then stopped if adoption becomes the sole plan, but that would take months probably

You might get an even younger child with concurrent care, but it is entirely possible to adopt a child aged about 8 months-2 years without doing concurrent care, so if age of the child is influencing your decision, bear that in mind

That is very long (sorry!!), and there are adoptive parents on this board who actually did concurrent care (I didn't) who could give you great advice about the reality, but I hope that helps a bit

Lilka Mon 22-Oct-12 17:56:42

Oh jeez that really is an essay blush grin

Lilka Mon 22-Oct-12 18:01:33

Oh and another thing!!

Yes, it's usually better for the child to have less moves, so concurrent care is certainly beneficial for the foster/adopted child. BUT, they are not the only child in this case - your DD is also a child. And you as a family matter a great deal as well. So make the decision based on what's best for you and your DD. The children who are 'free for adoption' and waiting, need adopting just as much as the concurrent care babies who get adopted after all

hifi Mon 22-Oct-12 18:09:32

you have to be prepared for the child to have contact with the birth parents up to 3 times a week. its hard work if they do.

ChoccyJules Tue 23-Oct-12 17:16:34

Lilka, this is great, thank you. I was worried we may look less favourable if we decide only to go for the usual adoption route. I do think DD would be a factor in our decision.

Hifi, have you got experience of this kind of route?

Lilka Tue 23-Oct-12 19:05:24

I don't think you would be less favourable at all, unless your LA has a real shortage of concurrent carers and they prioritise those applications. But that shouldn't influence your decision, and even then, there are other LA's and voluntary agencies you can adopt with. Concurrent care is rare still. You would be very much in a minority of adoptive parents if you went that route, most LA's don't even do concurrency, and when they do, most of their applications will not be for that

Kewcumber Tue 23-Oct-12 22:33:17

I don't think concurrent planning is anywhere close to being a very high number though so I can't imagine that anyone would turn down a potential adopter who wouldn't consider concurrent planning.

I know a single parent who was fostering concurrently with adoption but I lost touch before the end result was known and she had one birth child but he was from memory school age.

I looked into it myself and took that attitude that I wouldn't cope with being one of the 15%. I couldn't afford to give up my job to foster unless it was 100% sure I would adopt because if the child returned to birth family then I wouldn't be able to afford to take time off again for a "second attempt".

ChoccyJules Wed 24-Oct-12 18:36:30

Kew, I hadn't even thought of how the adoption leave would play out if I ever had to do it more than once. Good point.

scarlet5tyger Wed 24-Oct-12 19:31:06

Hi, I'm a foster carer whose current placement was placed here on the understanding that he would go up for adoption, very quickly. All his siblings are adopted. He is now going home to birth mum.

ChoccyJules Wed 24-Oct-12 19:56:49

Can you tell us what has changed, without details?

scarlet5tyger Wed 24-Oct-12 20:08:30

Officially, BM has now separated from BF. They've been separated less than 2 months (and have separated and reunited numerous times over the years) but this time apparently it's good enough to risk a child's future on.

Honestly? I think sadly its money. It's cheaper to send baby home than the costs of being in care.

KristinaM Wed 24-Oct-12 22:53:35

Soem children leave concurrent care to go back to a family member. Although this should have been explored as an option befroe the child went into the system, this sometimes doesn't happen.

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