Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Nevada

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Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: DCFS Pol. Man. § 0204

From the Division of Child and Family Services policy manual: Concurrent planning is an approach that addresses a child's need for a permanent family by developing an additional appropriate permanency goal while working simultaneously toward another goal. If a concurrent goal is adopted, reasonable efforts must be made toward both goals.

The caseworker is responsible for engaging in permanency planning to assess and prepare a child for permanent placement beginning at the point a child is removed from his or her home. Typically, the child's first goal is reunification with her or his family; however, concurrent planning should be considered from the beginning of the case.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.393(2); DCFS Pol. Man. § 0204

The agency that provides child welfare services may make reasonable efforts to place the child for adoption or with a legal guardian concurrently with making the reasonable efforts required to preserve and reunify the family of a child.

In policy: The agency must routinely assess whether it is appropriate to have a concurrent permanency goal and use concurrent planning if there is an appropriate additional goal to address permanency for the child. Concurrent planning may shorten the time to achieve permanency because progress is made toward all concurrent permanency goals simultaneously.

As part of the case-planning process, assessments are used to identify factors likely to affect the child's length of stay in foster care, including family strengths, family dynamics, or circumstances that make family reunification unlikely. Such an approach strives to balance a child's need for permanency with the recognition that caregivers have the capacity for change.

The decision to utilize concurrent planning should be considered at the onset of each case. If the agency determines they will work toward a concurrent plan, they must inform the parents and other parties of this decision as part of the case plan meeting.

Depending on what the agency determines, efforts for concurrent planning may begin at the time of removal and may include, but are not limited to, the following efforts:

  • A diligent search for relatives and gathering information from family
  • Establishing paternity
  • Completion and regular updates to the child's social summary
  • An assessment of the foster caregiver's ability and/or desire to be a long-term permanency option

Effective implementation requires comprehensive and early assessment and should be evaluated at the time of placement or if reunification fails or is delayed. Concurrent planning requires the identification of an additional appropriate permanency goal and the implementation of reasonable efforts toward that goal.

If the agency determines the risk posed to the child's safety by her or his family remains high and the progress toward reunification is minimal, a concurrent goal for permanency must be considered and evaluated. When assessing whether to utilize concurrent planning, the agency may consider the following factors to assist with the decision:

  • History of substance misuse and refusal to seek treatment or failure to respond to treatment
  • Demonstrated lack of interest in reuniting with the child
  • Serious unexplained injury
  • Prior child abuse or neglect, including repeated failed attempts to correct the conditions in the home
  • Identified mental health concern(s) and a demonstrated pattern of noncompliance with medication or treatment intervention
  • The caregiver's developmental disability or emotional impairment, which upon assessment indicates that the caregiver may be unable to provide for, protect, or nurture the child even with reasonable accommodation; and the caregiver does not have relatives or social supports able or willing to assist in parenting
  • Demonstrated history of domestic violence