Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Illinois

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 315.245

Concurrent planning is a process whereby the Department of Children and Family Services will make reasonable efforts to return the child home within 9 months after the child's placement in substitute care, while at the same time making it clear to the child's family that an alternative permanency plan for the child is being developed that will take effect if the parents do not make sufficient progress to enable the return home of their children within 9 months.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/5(l-1); Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 315.245

The legislature recognizes that the best interests of the child require that the child be placed in the most permanent living arrangement as soon as is practically possible. To achieve this goal, the legislature directs the department to conduct concurrent planning so that permanency may occur at the earliest opportunity. Permanent living arrangements may include prevention of placement of a child outside the home of the family when the child can be cared for at home without endangering the child's health or safety; reunification with the family, when safe and appropriate, if temporary placement is necessary; or movement of the child toward the most permanent living arrangement and permanent legal status.

A decision to place a child in substitute care shall be made with considerations of the child's health, safety, and best interests. At the time of placement, consideration also should be given so that if reunification fails or is delayed, the placement made is the best available placement to provide permanency for the child.

The department shall adopt rules addressing concurrent planning for reunification and permanency. The department shall consider the following factors when determining the appropriateness of concurrent planning:

  • The likelihood of prompt reunification
  • The past history of the family
  • The barriers to reunification being addressed by the family
  • The level of cooperation of the family
  • The foster parents' willingness to work with the family to reunite
  • The willingness and ability of the foster family to provide an adoptive home or long-term placement
  • The age of the child
  • Placement of siblings

In regulation: Unless sufficient evidence exists to seek expedited termination of parental rights, concurrent planning must be utilized for a child who has been removed from a family that meets the following criteria:

  • The parent has another child for whom parental rights were involuntarily terminated and there have been no significant changes in conditions or behaviors in the interim.
  • A finding has been made that the child's blood or urine at birth contained any amount of a controlled substance or a metabolite of a controlled substance, except for a controlled substance that was the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant, and that the mother of this child is birth mother of at least one other child who was adjudicated a neglected minor, after which the mother had the opportunity to participate in a drug counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation program.
  • The family has a history of repeated, failed attempts to correct conditions that resulted in child maltreatment.
  • There has been a single severe incident of abuse and/or neglect.
  • There has been abuse or neglect of a child who is particularly vulnerable given the child's age, developmental stage, and/or disability.
  • A child requires placement and has a sibling in out-of-home care because of the caregiver's abuse or neglect.
  • The parent has a diagnosed mental illness that renders the parent unable to provide or protect the child and that, upon assessment, indicates any of the following:
    • A history of treatment without response
    • The prognosis that the condition will respond too slowly to meet the child's needs according to the child's age and development
    • That the parent in treatment continually disregards medication or other treatment interventions
  • The parent has a developmental disability that, upon assessment, indicates that the parent may be unable to provide for, protect, or nurture the child, and the family has no other relatives or social supports able or willing to assist in parenting.