Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Texas

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

Citation: CPS Handbook § 6213

From the handbook: Concurrent permanency planning is the process by which child protective services (CPS) pursues two different permanency goals simultaneously. Each case has a primary and an alternate permanency goal. Working on both outcomes at the same time allows the child to achieve positive permanency as quickly as possible.

CPS may make reasonable efforts to finalize an alternative permanency plan concurrently with reasonable efforts to reunify the child and family.

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Fam. Code §§ 263.102; 263.3025; 263.306; CPS Handbook § 6221; Perm. Plan. Res. Guide

Regardless of whether the goal stated in a child's service plan is to return the child to the child's parents or to terminate parental rights and place the child for adoption, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) shall concurrently provide to the child and to the child's family the following, as applicable:

  • Time-limited family reunification services, as defined by 42 U.S.C § 629a, for a period not to exceed the period within which the court must render a final order in or dismiss the suit affecting the parent-child relationship with respect to the child
  • Adoption promotion and support services, as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 629a

In accordance with department rules, a child's permanency plan must include concurrent permanency goals consisting of a primary permanency goal and at least one alternate permanency goal.

At each permanency hearing before a final order is rendered, the court shall review the permanency progress report to determine the appropriateness of the primary and alternative permanency goals for the child and whether DFPS has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan, including the concurrent permanency goals, in effect for the child.

From the handbook: All children receiving services in conservatorship must have a permanency plan. The permanency plan addresses the specific steps that are needed to pursue the identified permanency goal for the child. It consists of the following:

  • The primary permanency-planning goal for the child and one or more alternate permanency-planning goals
  • The specific steps to be taken to achieve the goal or goals, with responsibilities and timeframes established for taking those steps
  • A discussion of the efforts made to achieve the goal or goals

From the resource guide: Staff must use concurrent planning when children are in DFPS temporary or permanent managing conservatorship or extended foster care to increase the likelihood of achieving positive permanency for youth exiting care. Specifically, DFPS must adhere to the following:

  • Primary and concurrent permanency plan goals must be developed within 45 days of the child coming into care.
  • Both the primary and the concurrent goals must be actively worked at the same time€”they are not in lieu of each other.
  • DFPS must work to engage the parents and the child in case-planning activities throughout the case.

Issues to consider when selecting an appropriate goal for the child include the following:

  • The permanency goal must serve the child's best interests and long-term care needs.
  • The permanency goal must provide permanency and stability.
  • The permanency goal must be realistic and have the potential of being achieved.
  • The permanency goal should not be selected for the purpose of satisfying the need to have a concurrent goal.
  • The permanency goal must address the need for an enduring and nurturing family relationship.