Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Washington
Defining Concurrent Planning
Citation: DCYF Pol. & Proc. § 4305
In policy: Permanency planning starts at first contact with the family and continues until a permanency goal is achieved. Concurrent planning provides for timely reunification services while anticipating and preparing for an alternate permanent plan.
State Approaches to Concurrent Planning
Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.136(2); DCYF Pol. & Proc. § 4305
The permanency plan shall include a permanency plan of care that shall identify one of the following outcomes as a primary goal and may identify additional outcomes as alternative goals:
- Return of the child to the home of the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian
- Adoption, including a Tribal customary adoption, as defined in § 13.38.040
- Long-term relative or foster care, if the child is between age 16 and 18, with a written agreement between the parties and the care provider
- Successful completion of a responsible living skills program
- Independent living, if appropriate and if the child is age 16 or older
The plan shall state whether both in-State and, where appropriate, out-of-State placement options have been considered by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).
In policy: A permanency-planning goal must be identified for all children in out-of-home care no later than 60 days from the original placement date.
The caseworker's written report to the court must identify concurrent plans. A permanent plan includes how DCYF is working toward securing a safe, stable, and permanent home for the child. The court report must address the following:
- Whether primary and alternate permanent plans are being concurrently pursued, including only the following:
- Return home to the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian
- Limited guardianship
- Whether reasonable efforts are being made to return the child to his or her parents
- How the permanency plan is in the best interests of the child
- How the agency has worked toward securing a safe, stable, and permanent home for the child as early as possible
Long-term foster or relative care is not a permanent plan. It is only considered when other permanent plans are determined not to be in the best interests of a child who is age 16 and older as the result of a shared planning decision-making process. Continued efforts must be made to achieve legal permanency, unless it is determined to not be in the child's best interests.