Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Vermont

Date: August 2021

Defining Concurrent Planning

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

State Approaches to Concurrent Planning

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5316(b)(1); DCF Fam. Serv. Pol. Man., # 125

The long-term goal for a child found to be in need of care and supervision is a safe and permanent home. A disposition case plan shall include a permanency goal and an estimated date for achieving the permanency goal. The plan shall specify whether permanency will be achieved through reunification with a custodial parent, guardian, or custodian; adoption; permanent guardianship; or other permanent placement. In addition to a primary permanency goal, the plan may identify a concurrent permanency goal.

In policy: The Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division, always explores multiple options to attain permanency for children and youth, which is referred to as concurrent planning. Making concurrent efforts to achieve permanency is required in all cases. When the case plan goal is reunification, the division makes reasonable efforts toward reunification while also making efforts to ensure the foster or kinship caregiver may be willing to be a potentially permanent adoptive family if reunification cannot be achieved.

Division staff should always be mindful of whether there are other resources available to the child or youth€”both for the purpose of enriching their lives by building connections and as a potential permanency resource if reunification cannot occur. Such efforts could include the following:

  • Conversations with parents about who they would like to care for their child if they cannot resume parenting
  • Conversations with the current caregiver about whether they would be willing and able to care for the child into adulthood
  • Providing supports and services to both the parents and caregivers related to grief and loss so they can meet the needs of the child into adulthood
  • Having ongoing conversations with parents and known relatives about extended family members and their connections to the child
  • Thinking about who the child is most connected with (e.g., teachers, guidance counselors, coaches) and exploring those options on an ongoing basis

Efforts to engage relatives and a child's important connections should be continuous. Even if a relative does not respond to the division's initial inquiry, the person should be contacted again at the next critical juncture of the case (e.g., case plan reviews, change in case-plan goal, change in placement, or other significant change in the case).