Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Rhode Island

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: Code of Rules 214-30-00-1, § 1.11

Concurrent planning is a family-centered practice approach requiring intensive work toward reunification with birth parents while identifying a placement option for the child that will be permanent if reunification efforts are not successful.

The goals of concurrent planning are to support the safety and well-being of children and families; promote early permanency decisions for children; reduce the number of moves and relationship disruptions children experience in foster care; and maintain continuity in children's relationships with parents, siblings, extended family, and community.

Concurrent planning requires 'full disclosure' that includes open, honest, respectful, and ongoing discussions with birth families regarding rights, responsibilities, permanency, timeframes, and access to timely services to meet the safety needs of the children and families.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) prepares and trains relative and nonrelative concurrent resource families to work cooperatively with birth families in a mutual effort to support and promote reunification. Frequent and consistent visitation between parents and children is required and concurrent resource families are key to facilitating this process.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Gen. Laws § 40-11-12.2(g); DCYF Oper. Proc., Pol. # 900.0025

Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunite the family.

In policy: To support safety, well-being, and permanency for children, reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify the child with parents. The social worker and supervisor must first assess the appropriateness of the case for concurrent planning and then obtain the approval of the regional director.

Cases involving kinship placements shall be considered for concurrent planning based on the assessment criteria outlined in policy # 700.0215. Kinship caregivers will be provided with information about concurrent planning and encouraged to participate in the concurrent-planning process. Service planning for reunification in concurrent-planning cases engages both the birth family and the placement family in cooperative efforts toward permanency. In most cases, kinship caregivers already possess knowledge of the child and are supportive of the family unit. These factors may make them ideally suited for concurrent-planning efforts.

State law § 14-1-27 provides that whenever the court determines that permanent placement or adoption is in the best interests of a child, a fit and willing relative who has been awarded placement of the child shall be given priority over a nonrelative, provided that such placement or adoption is in the best interests of the child.