Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - New Jersey

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: DCF Pol. Man. CPP-III-B-2-300

From the Department of Children and Families policy manual: Concurrent planning is a practice that provides reunification services while simultaneously implementing an alternative permanency plan in the event that reunification cannot be accomplished within the required timeframes. Concurrent planning is required for all children in custody of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency with a primary case goal of reunification. A secondary case goal is selected and documented in a case plan assessment. Concurrent planning allows the alternative plan to be immediately actionable, thereby shortening a child's stay in out-of-home placement.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-11.1(c); 30:4C-55; DCF Pol. Man. CPP-III-B-2-300

Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian or in an alternative permanent placement may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the child's family.

The division shall prepare, and revise as necessary, a placement plan for each child placed outside his or her home. This shall be done in consultation with the child's parents or legal guardian and the child, when appropriate. The placement plan shall include a statement of the services to be provided to the parent or legal guardian or an exception to the requirement to provide reasonable efforts toward family reunification, in accordance with § 30:4C-11.3. Services to facilitate adoption or an alternative permanent placement may be provided concurrently with services to reunify the child with the parent or guardian.

In policy: Guiding principles in concurrent planning include the following:

  • Following the first placement-best placement practice model that holds children who are placed with their kin or fictive kin and together with their siblings experience overall better health and well-being outcomes and shorter stays in placement, leading to timely permanency
  • Valuing the voice of the parent and child in the placement decision
  • Making placement decisions that consider race, culture, and ethnicity to help minimize the negative impact that a removal can create for a child
  • Fully disclosing to parents that the Adoption and Safe Families Act requires permanency within 12 months as the primary goal
  • Discussing with the family of origin all permanency options, including adoption and kinship legal guardianship
  • Enabling the child and family to express their understanding of permanency and knowledge of what will happen next
  • Fostering family and community connections to provide a support network that promotes a safe and timely reunification or other permanency plan
  • Promoting stability of the placement by partnering with resource parents early in placement episodes and promoting full disclosure regarding the children placed in their care
  • Providing frequent and progressive parent/child/sibling visitation
  • Maintaining that the safety and well-being of the child is paramount while supporting the safety, stability, and well-being of the child's family