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Understanding and Using CONCURRENT PLANNING To Achieve Permanency for Children and Youth

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Title: Understanding and Using CONCURRENT PLANNING To Achieve Permanency for Children and Youth


1
Understanding and Using CONCURRENT PLANNING To
Achieve Permanency for Children and Youth
  • ABA Conference
  • Best Practices to Implement ASFA Creative
    Strategies for Practitioners

2
Major Changes in Foster Care in Past Decade
  • Signing of Adoption and Safe Families
    Legislation, 1997
  • Creation of Child Family Service Review System
    in States, 2001
  • Movement Toward Dual Licensure, 1998
  • Signing of Chaffee Legislation, 1999
  • Focus on Permanency for Older Youth, 2002
  • New Law 683- Fostering Connections, 2008

3
Some National Statistics About Youth In Foster
Care
  • AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and
    Reporting System) data, as of August, 2009,
    indicates that there are
  • 496,000 children in care
  • 130,000 awaiting adoptive placement
  • 51,000 children/youth are adopted annually
  • However these figures do not include the number
    of children in LTFC/APPLA who are not in
    permanent homes and for whom no one is seeking
    permanency

4
Some National Statistics About Youth In Foster
Care
  • 293,000 children enter care annually
  • 287,000 children exit care annually
  • 60 of children adopted by their foster
    parents
  • 25 by relatives
  • Homes for the remaining 15 recruited at
    state, local, and national level waiting
    children

5
Race/Ethnicity
  • Nationally, 56 of the children and youth in
    care are children and youth of color
  • 32 African American 19 Latino Indian
    Children in many states are over-represented as
    well, especially in South Dakota where 3 of the
    population identify as Indian and 63 of the
    children and youth in the foster care systems are
    of Indian ancestry.

6
Permanency Planning Goals
  • Reunification 53
  • Adoption 17
  • Relative care 11
  • 9 or 26,517 youth had a goal of emancipation.

7
Child Family Services Review
  • The guiding principles of the CFSR are consistent
    with A Systems of Care framework.
  • Child safety, permanency, and well-being are
    closely tied to principles of service delivery
    for effective practice including
  • prevention services
  • family-focused and community-based services
  • Flexible, accessible, and coordinated services
  • culturally appropriate services
  • strengths-based and individualized services.

8
Defining Permanency
  • Permanence is not a philosophical process, a
    plan, or a foster care placement, nor is it
    intended to be a family relationship that lasts
    only until the child turns age 18.

9
Defining Permanency
  • Permanence is about locating and supporting a
    lifetime family. For young people in out-of home
    placement, planning for permanence should begin
    at entry into care, and be youth-driven,
    family-focused, culturally competent, continuous,
    and approached with the highest degree of
    urgency.

10
Defining Permanency
  • Child welfare agencies, in partnership with the
    larger community, have a moral and professional
    responsibility to find a permanent family
    relationship for each child and young person in
    foster care.

11
Defining Permanency
  • Permanence should bring physical, legal and
    emotional safety and security within the context
    of a family relationship and allow multiple
    relationships with a variety of caring adults.

12
Defining Permanency
  • Permanence is achieved with a family
    relationship that offers safe, stable, and
    committed parenting, unconditional love and
    lifelong support, and legal family membership
    status.

13
Defining Permanency
  • Permanence can be the result of preservation of
    the family, reunification with birth family or
    legal guardianship or adoption by kin, fictive
    kin, or other caring and committed adults.

14
Definition of Concurrent Planning
  • To work towards family reunification while, at
    the same time, developing an alternative
    permanent plan.
  • Concurrent rather than sequential planning.
  • It involves a mix of family centered casework and
    legal strategies aimed at achieving timely
    reunification, while at the same time
    establishing a concurrent permanency plan if
    reunification cannot be accomplished.
  • It is not a fast track to adoption, but to
    permanency

15
Pathways to Permanency for Youth
  • Youth are reunified safely with their parents or
    relatives
  • Youth are adopted by relatives or other families
  • Youth permanently reside with relatives or other
    families as legal guardians
  • Youth are connected to permanent resources via
    fictive kinship or customary adoption networks
  • Youth are safely placed in another planned
    alternative permanent living arrangement which is
    closely reviewed for appropriateness every six
    months

16
Goals of Concurrent Planning
  • promote safety, permanency, well-being of
    children
  • achieve early permanency
  • reduce of moves
  • continue significant relationships

17
Goals of Concurrent Planning
  • To develop a network of foster parents (relatives
    and non-relatives) who can work toward
    reunification and also serve as permanency
    resource families for children and youth
  • To engage families in early case planning, case
    review, and decision-making about the array of
    permanency options to meet children and youths
    urgent need for stability and continuity in their
    family relationships
  • To maintain continuity in children and Youths
    family, siblings, and community relationships

18
Why Concurrent Planning Now?
  • Children are spending too much time in foster
    care
  • Response to Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare
    Act of 1980 PL 96-272
  • Response to Adoption and Safe Families Act of
    1997 - ASFA
  • Major strategy used for child welfare agencies to
    meet National Outcomes and Performance Standards
    (Children and Family Service Reviews)

19
Success Redefined
  • Permanency is the Goal.
  • Reunification is a primary but only
  • one of several acceptable permanency
  • goals.

20
Core Components of Concurrent Planning
  • Success redefined
  • Differential assessment and prognostic case
    review
  • Full disclosure
  • Frequent child-family visitation
  • Crises and time limits as opportunity
  • Early search for absent parents (including
    fathers) and relatives (including paternal
    resources)

21
Core Components of Concurrent Planning (continued)
  • Plan A and Plan B Placement with a permanency
    planning resource families
  • Written Agreements, scrupulous documentation and
    timely case review
  • Collaboration between social work and legal
    service providers

22
Legal Strategies
  • Indian Child Welfare Act - 1978
  • Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act 1980
    PL96-272
  • Adoption and Safe Families Act 1997 (ASFA)
  • Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) and
    Inter-Ethnic Placement Provisions (IEP) 1994
    Amended in 1996 to remove barriers
  • The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
    Act 1996

23
Response to Legal Strategies
  • Family-Centered and Strengths-Based Practice
    Models
  • Community-Based Service Delivery
  • Cultural Responsive Practice Models
  • Open and Inclusive Practice
  • Non-Adversarial Approaches Solution-Focused
  • Concurrent rather than Sequential Consideration
    of all Permanency Options

24
Principles of Strengths/Needs Based Practice
  • Children belong in families, and need nurturing
    relationship with adults
  • Children should be helped to stay with (or return
    to) their families
  • People can change with the right services,
    education and supports
  • Families (biological, foster and adoptive) should
    be viewed as partners
  • Foster care and other placements used for family
    support

25
Principles of Strengths/Needs Based Practice
  • Childs attachment needs can be addressed through
    strengthening family resources
  • Comprehensive and individualized services focused
    on family empowerment considering family
    strengths and underlying needs in developing
    individualized family service plans
  • Culturally responsive services

26
Differential Assessment
  • Is a Process of
  • Individualizing our understanding of the
    individual, family, or group in the context of
    their present circumstances, past experiences,
    and potential for future functioning
  • Deepening our family-centered understanding of
    the child in the context of their family,
    culture, and community
  • Strengthening our understanding of the personal,
    interpersonal, and environmental context in which
    children and families live and interact.

27
Differential Assessment (continued)
  • Engaging families in culturally competent, early
    comprehensive assessments, case planning and
    services needed to achieve timely permanency
    reunification or an alternative plan b
  • Engaging in a Differential Prognostic
    Assessment process to identify family situations
    in which a concurrent permanency plan/placement
    with a resource family is needed.

28
Differential Assessment (continued)
  • Using the crisis of placement as a motivator to
    engage families in case planning and to make
    behavioral changes.
  • Increasing birth and foster parent partnerships
    in case planning

29
Differential Assessment (continued)
  • Recruiting, training, and supporting permanency
    planning resource families in addition to other
    types of foster families.
  • Engaging in discussions with foster families
    about the need for a concurrent permanency plan
    and their interest in serving as a back-up
    permanency resource for children who may not
    return to their birth parents.

30
Differential Assessment (continued)
  • Identifying relatives and tribal resources who
    can be placement/permanency resources early on in
    the case planning process.
  • Respectfully using full disclosure with birth
    families and foster/adoptive families throughout
    the life of the case.

31
Differential Assessment (continued)
  • Collaborating with courts, attorneys, and service
    providers to better serve children and families.
  • Determining when to pursue the alternative
    permanency plan such as adoption or guardianship
    when it is clear the parent(s) can not or will
    not care for their children.

32
Benefits
  • To the child
  • Reduced placements
  • Earlier permanency through reunification or other
    permanency option
  • To the Parent
  • Creates sense of urgency
  • Parent benefits from early accessible services
    outcome is determined by parent.
  • When outcome is not reunification, lays the
    groundwork for openness with permanent caregiver

33
Current Challenges
  • Decision-Making when child is placed early and
    attached to non related caregiver and relative
    requests placement
  • Foster Parents intervening when reunification
    planning occurs
  • Continued training needsstaff turnover

34
Reflections
  • Consider and normalize the language in concurrent
    planning,i.e. assessment, backup plan, resource
    foster families
  • Collaborating with courts, attorneys, and service
    providers to better serve children and families
  • Determining when to pursue the alternative
    permanency plan such as adoption or guardianship
    when it is clear the parent(s) can not or will
    not care for their children.
  • Early Potentially Permanent Kinship Placements
  • Use concurrent planning for all forms of
    permanency, not only adoption

35
  • Gerald P. Mallon, DSW
  • Professor and Executive Director
  • National Resource Center for Family Centered
    Practice and Permanency Planningat the Hunter
    College School of Social WorkA Service of the
    Childrens Bureau\ACF\DHHS
  • 129 East 79th Street, Suite 801New York, New
    York 10075
  • (212) 452-7043 Private line
  • (212) 452-7051 - faxgmallon_at_hunter.cuny.edu -
    Emailwww.nrcfcppp.org
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