Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Missouri

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: Child Welf. Man., § 4, Ch. 10

In policy: Concurrent planning is a process of working toward reunification while at the same time establishing and implementing an alternative permanency plan for a child.

Appropriate placement of the child that meets the child's needs is critical to the concurrent plan. Placement should be thoughtful and consider the child's goal. While moves may occur for some children, careful planning and selection of placement may help to minimize disruptions and provide stability.

Concurrent rather than sequential planning efforts are utilized to move a child more quickly from the uncertainty of foster care to the security of a safe and stable permanent placement. Concurrent planning should include steps to place the child for adoption, guardianship, or in another approved permanent placement, including youth with a goal of another permanent planned living arrangement.

Concurrent planning involves meaningful family engagement throughout the case. It occurs through engagement with the child or youth, their parents and caregivers, and other people involved in the plans by way of on-going, consistent, clear, and honest conversations.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 211.183(9); Child Welf. Man., § 4, Ch. 10

The Children's Division may concurrently engage in reasonable efforts, as described in this section, while engaging in such other measures as are deemed appropriate by the division to establish a permanent placement for the child.

In policy: Permanency planning (including concurrent planning) should begin immediately after removal of the child from the home. The permanency goal must be established for each child at their 72-hour meeting upon entry to alternative care. If a child's primary goal is determined to be reunification, a concurrent goal is required and must be established within 30 days of the child entering alternative care. The concurrent goal must be in the child's best interests, appropriate to meet their needs, and attainable.

To address the child's need for timely permanency, staff shall continue discussion with the family during case-planning interactions to establish an alternate plan for the child should the primary goal prove unattainable. The concurrent plan must include placement with relatives unless such placement is contrary to the welfare of the child.

Reasonable efforts to finalize a concurrent goal should be made at the same time as efforts to reunify the child and family. Examples of reasonable efforts include the following:

  • Establishing the paternity of a putative father
  • Identifying relatives both in and out of State
  • Placing the child with a relative or kinship provider
  • Asking a parent about Indian heritage and notifying the Indian Tribe or Bureau of Indian Affairs office, if applicable
  • Educating the child, parents, and relatives on what permanency options are available
  • Discussing permanency goals with the parent, the child (if appropriate), relatives, and the child's caregiver
  • Preparing the child's adoption profile
  • Referring the child to the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood, if applicable

If a child has been in out-of-home care 15 out of 22 months and the current permanency goal is not working, the family support team must consider changing the permanency goal to an identified appropriate concurrent goal.