Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - South Carolina

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Ann. Code § 63-7-1640(D); DSS Hum. Serv. Pol. & Proc. Man. § 520

The Department of Social Services may proceed with efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian concurrently with making efforts to prevent removal or to make it possible for the child to return safely to the home.

In policy: If at any time during the case (including the formation of the initial case plan), the caseworker determines a concurrent plan would be in the child's best interests, the worker shall staff the case with his or her supervisor to determine whether the addition of a concurrent plan is appropriate.

If the caseworker and supervisor determine that a concurrent plan is appropriate, the caseworker shall do the following:

  • In an age- and developmentally appropriate manner, consult the child regarding any proposed addition of a concurrent plan
  • Update the child's case plan to reflect the proposed change in the permanent plan
  • Notify the parents (if a termination of parental rights (TPR) has not been finalized), explaining the implications of a concurrent plan in a manner that the parents can understand
  • Notify the child's placement of any proposed change in the permanent plan
  • Request a permanency-planning hearing or review hearing to seek court approval of the proposed change in the permanent plan

The caseworker shall, to the extent that the concurrent plan does not contradict the primary plan, make reasonable efforts to finalize both plans. The only options for concurrent plans are adoption and court-ordered custody/guardianship. A plan of another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) can only be chosen after the demonstration of compelling reasons to believe that all alternative plans are inappropriate, which makes a concurrent plan of APPLA incompatible with any of these ruled-out plans.

Unless statutory authority exists to forego reasonable efforts to reunify the family and such action is in the best interests of the child (and as long as State law does not require the filing of a TPR petition), the agency shall choose a permanency plan of reunification at the outset of a foster care case. Pursuant to this plan, the agency shall make at least reasonable efforts to reunify children with their families. When appropriate, the agency shall adopt a plan of adoption and/or guardianship as a concurrent plan with reunification.

A referral for adoption services shall be made when the following apply:

  • Adoption is the primary or concurrent plan.
  • The parents are not complying with the treatment plan and grounds for TPR exist.

Adoption services shall take place concurrently with the pendency of a TPR proceeding.