Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Michigan

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Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: Foster Care Man., § 722-07A

In policy: Concurrent permanency planning (CPP) is the practice of working toward reunification while simultaneously establishing an alternative plan for permanent placement. CPP emphasizes reunification efforts by providing support, structure, and clear timelines to families while keeping the focus on the child's need for safety and permanence. CPP must never be used to circumvent or limit reunification efforts; caseworkers must diligently pursue reunification. If, however, the juvenile court determines that reunification is not possible the alternative plan is implemented. Simultaneously developing two permanency plans for a child reduces the number of foster care placements and allows permanency to be achieved in a timely manner.

In cases involving a child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized Tribe, Tribal government will be involved in all aspects of case planning, placement, and interventions. In these situations, sequential planning rather than concurrent planning may be the process of choice.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Comp. Laws § 712A.19(13)-(14); Foster Care Man., § 722-07A

Reasonable efforts to finalize an alternate permanency plan may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the family.

Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian, including identifying appropriate in-State or out-of-State options, may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify the child and family.

In policy: When a child is placed in an out-of-home placement and has a goal of reunification, two permanency plans for the child must be developed. Plan A is reunification and Plan B is the alternative permanency plan for the child. The assigned caseworker must develop Plan B with input from the parent, foster parent/caregiver, and child (when appropriate). Plan B must be one of the federally approved permanency goals. The permanency goals must be explored in the order listed below, with adoption being the most preferred goal:

  • Adoption
  • Guardianship
  • Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative
  • Another planned permanent living arrangement

Concurrent permanency planning includes multiple components, each of which contributes to the overall objective of achieving timely permanency. Components of effective concurrent permanency planning include the following:

  • Individualized and early assessment of the core conditions that led to out-of-home placement and the strengths of the family
  • Identification of absent parents
  • Diligent relative search and engagement
  • Family team meetings
  • Full disclosure of Plan A and Plan B
  • Front loading services
  • Enhanced parent/child contacts to maintain family connections
  • Identification of a concurrent permanency goal
  • Identification of a Plan B caregiver to achieve the concurrent goal
  • Effective and timely court reviews
  • Ongoing evaluation of progress

A specific concurrent goal must be identified no later than 120 days from initial out-of-home placement. Identification of a concurrent goal at 120 days must be flexible for Indian children to allow Tribal involvement and to respect cultural differences.