Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Delaware

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: DFS Pol. Man.: Definitions

In policy: 'Concurrent planning' means working toward family reunification while at the same time establishing an alternative permanency plan or concurrent multiple plans, rather than sequential-planning efforts to create permanence for children.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: DFS Pol. Man. §§ 3(H); 5(C)

The goals of concurrent planning are the following:

  • To engage families and relatives early in the planning process
  • To consider all options open to children and families
  • To support the safety and well-being of children and families
  • To promote early permanency decisions for children
  • To decrease length of time in foster care
  • To reduce the number of moves children experience in foster care
  • To increase voluntary relinquishment
  • To develop family service plans with a sense of direction, measurable goals, and shorter timeframes
  • To develop a network of foster parents and relatives willing to work with families and serve as permanency resources for children

Concurrent planning occurs in all stages of service provision to families active with the Division of Family Services, as follows:

  • For intact families, concurrent planning is the provision of rehabilitative services while exploring family resources for safety and support or for possible placement, if necessary.
  • Once placement occurs, concurrent planning is used to explore other permanency options for children if they cannot return home.
  • When petitioning the family court for termination of parental rights, concurrent planning consists of providing reasonable efforts to the family toward reunification while simultaneously providing child-specific services to prepare the child for adoption.
  • When the permanency committee has approved a permanency goal of relative custody, guardianship, long-term foster care, or independent living, the caseworker shall take whatever steps are necessary to implement the alternative goal while simultaneously preparing court documents.
  • When a child has an approved goal of an alternative permanency planned living arrangement, concurrent planning involves a continual review of the resources in the youth's life for potential permanent placements and relationships.

Successful concurrent planning depends on the following:

  • Accurate, timely assessment of the cases of child abuse and neglect
  • Appropriate, targeted provision of services
  • Full disclosure to parents and all other parties concerned about concurrent-planning efforts and the reasons
  • Using time limits as motivation for change
  • Clear, concise, written case plans and appropriate review of progress
  • Documentation of all services provided and the decisions made
  • Early search for immediate and extended family, including noncustodial parents and maternal and paternal relatives
  • Inclusive case planning and nonadversarial problem solving
  • Periodic review of the concurrent plan activities and identified resources