Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Maine

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Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Man., § VII(D-1)

In policy: Permanency planning is an important child welfare practice that involves identifying and working toward a child's primary permanency goal, such as reunification with the birth family, while simultaneously identifying and working on an alternative concurrent plan, such as adoption, permanency guardianship, or guardianship, in the event that reunification is not successfully achieved.

Permanency planning is a transparent practice that informs and reminds the family and its team members about the importance of reaching permanency for each child in a timeframe that is calculated to best meet that child's needs, through reunification or by seeking and reaching an alternative permanent goal. All planning for children focuses on the goal of preserving their family, reunifying their family, or achieving permanent placement in another family.

A 'concurrent plan' is a plan developed by Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) staff, the family, and its team that acknowledges a child's need for a timely, safe, and appropriate permanency goal should reunification not be successful.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4041(1-A)(D); Child & Fam. Serv. Man., § VII(D-1)

The Department of Human Services may make reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian concurrently with reunification efforts if potential adoptive parents have expressed a willingness to support the rehabilitation and reunification plan.

In policy: Concurrent case planning begins when out-of-home placement of children is being considered. The family and its team are made aware of the importance of a concurrent plan. They are encouraged to consider and identify possible alternate permanency options. Every effort will be made to reach consensus about the concurrent plan that is identified. If that is not possible, OCFS is responsible for developing a concurrent plan.

It is not uncommon that a child's initial placement will become the most appropriate concurrent plan for that child. Therefore, careful consideration must be given to making that placement. If that initial placement cannot become the concurrent plan for permanency, the family and team will help identify additional possible permanency options.

If a child is both chronologically and developmentally able then their perspective and 'voice' will be considered during concurrent-planning discussions. If reunification efforts are discontinued, the concurrent plan will become the primary case goal.