Concurrent Planning for Timely Permanency for Children - Washington

Date: August 2021

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
  • Guardianship
  • 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
    • Adoption
    • Guardianship
    • 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.