Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - New York

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: OCFS Child Welf. Man., Pub. # 5202

From the Office of Children and Family Services policy manual: Concurrent planning seeks to provide an alternative path to permanency if reunification cannot be achieved. It is to be developed and implemented in tandem with the reunification plan, not instead of it. The primary goal of concurrent planning is to move children in foster care more quickly from the uncertainty and impermanence of foster care to the security of a permanent family. Concurrent planning is a tool to help achieve the following:

  • Safety for children
  • Early permanency decisions for children
  • Reductions in length of stay in foster care
  • Reductions in the number of moves and relationship disruptions a child experiences while in foster care

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Rules & Reg. Tit. 18, § 428.6(2)(x); OCFS Child Welf. Man., Pub. # 5202

When concurrent planning is determined through assessment to be warranted in the case, the family assessment and service plan must include a description of the alternate plan to achieve permanency for the child if the child cannot be safely returned home.

In policy: Successful concurrent planning entails several steps, including a full disclosure and discussion with parents regarding the impact of foster care on children; the children's need for safety and permanency; and the agency's and the parent's roles in securing a safe, permanent family for children as quickly as possible. Often this means asking parents to identify individuals who might raise their children in the event they are unable to do so or asking the child, if old enough, to identify alternate caregivers. This discussion can be a way of helping parents understand the seriousness of the situation and gives parents a role in planning for their children, even if the children are unable to return home.

When a decision has been made to use concurrent planning, the ideal placement for these children is with a foster family that has made a commitment to provide foster care for as long as a child needs it and to adopt the child if the child is legally freed. This has been called an 'at-risk' placement, which means there is some degree of risk that a child will not be freed for adoption and will be returned to his or her parent(s).