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Concurrent Planning


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Achieving permanency for foster children through concurrent planning. Guides outline case planning that includes reunification for families and steps leading to adoption when reunification is not an option.

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Concurrent Planning

  1. 1. CONCURRENT PLANNING 101: The Honorable Sandra Miller Paulding County Juvenile Court Barbara Burnley & Angie Chandler Paulding County DFCS Julie York & Amy Mobley DFCS Education & Project Management Unit Georgia Child Welfare Legal Academy Emory University School of Law Nov. 18, 2011 Atlanta, GA
  2. 2. Our Shared Vision for Today  Understand the Theory Behind Concurrent Case Planning  Understand the Practices that Promote Good Concurrent Case Planning  Understand Where Georgia is Today with Respect to Concurrent Case Planning 2
  3. 3. Agenda  Foundational Matters  Concurrent Planning Nationally  Concurrent Planning in Georgia  The Trials & Tribulations of CP at the County Level  Questions & Answers 3
  4. 4. What is Concurrent Planning?  Concurrent Planning: Working towards reunification while at the same time establishing and implementing an alternative permanency plan.  Permanency Options: Reunification is always required as the primary plan  Alternative Plans Include: 1. Adoption 2. Guardianship 3. Permanent Custody with a Fit & Willing Relative.  APPLA is not an appropriate option for concurrent plans 4
  5. 5. Alternate Plans Number of Alternate Plans Adoption 1191 Guardianship 80 Permanent Custody with Fit & Willing Relative 1573 Current Planning in Georgia Today5  On October 1, 2011:  2902 children in foster care with concurrent case plans. That’s about 40% of the overall population.  Most common Primary plan is Reunification, but there are primary plans of APPLA, Live with Fit & Willing Relative, and Adoption (which is not good)  Alternate Plans Break Down Like This:
  6. 6. Current Planning in Georgia by Age6  Median Age: 6.1 // Range: [.1,18) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Concurrent Plan Distribution by Child Age
  7. 7. Why Concurrent Planning?  Benefits of Concurrent Planning:  Fewer Placements for Children in Care.  Fewer Adoption Disruptions  Reduced Length of Time in Care  Formation of New Extended Families  Supports Continuity and Stability in Family Relationships  May Produce Cost Savings 7
  8. 8. Theory of Concurrent Planning  Reduce Time in Care: Foster Care is a Temporary Setting & Children Should Spend no More Time in Care Than Absolutely Necessary  Shift the Emotional Burden: Adults, Rather than Children, Should Assume the Emotional Risk of Foster Care & Uncertain Futures 8
  9. 9. Agenda  Foundational Matters  Concurrent Planning Nationally  Concurrent Planning in Georgia  The Trials & Tribulations of CP at the County Level  Questions & Answers 9
  10. 10. Concurrent Planning Emerges  Adoption Assistance & Child Welfare Act of 1980  Practice Required a Preferred Permanency Plan to Be Ruled out Before an Alternative was Developed  Lead to Sequential Case Planning  Believed to be Among the Contributors to ‘Foster Care Drift’  Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997  Allows Courts to Order Concurrent Case Planning 10
  11. 11. Concurrent Planning Ruffles Feathers  Courts & Attorneys:  Development of an Alternative Case Plan Conflicts with Agencies’ Genuine Pursuit of Family Reunification.  Provider Community:  Certain Services (e.g., Adoption Recruitment) May Not be Initiated Until Petition to TPR is Filed.  Local Casemanagers:  Inherent Tension in Working with a Family at the Same Time You are Recruiting a New One  Foster Parents & Relatives:  Asking them to Sign up for the Role of “Plan B.” 11
  12. 12. The Fed’s Recognize the Challenge  The Children’s Bureau:  “concurrent planning efforts are not being implemented on a consistent basis when appropriate. . .”  “some states had formal, excellent concurrent planning policies at the state level, but there was no evidence of concurrent planning practices in the case reviews.”  “In a number of states, concurrent goals were written in the case files, but case reviews showed that efforts towards the goals were sequential rather than concurrent.” 12
  13. 13. Research on Non-Reunification  Most Common Indicators for Non-Reunification:  Parent previously killed or seriously harmed another child.  Parent repeatedly and with premeditation harmed a child.  Parent’s only visible support system is a drug culture.  Parent has significant and untreated mental health issues.  Parents rights to another child 13
  14. 14. Atlanta, GA: Timeliness to Perm.14
  15. 15. Jacksonville, FL: Timeliness to Perm.15
  16. 16. Concurrent Planning Takes Shape INVOLVES:  Up Front Assessment: individualized and intensive  Family Engagement: full disclosure of parental strengths, needs, indicators for concurrent planning and consequences  Diligent Search: early and ongoing aggressive search  Early Identification of All Permanency Options: not just reunification at the start 16
  17. 17. Components of Concurrent Planning  Firm Timelines for Permanency  Full Disclosure to Parents  Early & Ongoing Exploration of Family Members as Caretakers  Early Paternity Determination  Frequent & Meaningful Visitation  Active Examination of Parental Ambivalence 17
  18. 18. Primary Culprit: the CP Assessment Guide  Agency Completes Assessment of Family’s Likelihood of Being Reunified Quickly Based on A Number of Indicators  Families with Poor Prognosis of Reunification are Given a Concurrent Plan and Full Disclosure of Such 18
  19. 19. Agenda  Foundational Matters  Concurrent Planning Nationally  Concurrent Planning in Georgia  The Trials & Tribulations of CP at the County Level  Questions & Answers 19
  20. 20. Current Planning in Georgia is Born20  Innovation Zones:  Training Jan – Mar 2010
  21. 21. CHILD FAMILY Changing the Message 21
  22. 22. Myths and Concerns  Concurrent planning is just a fast track to Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) and will set birth parents up for failure. 22
  23. 23. Myths and Concerns  Concurrent planning will cause case managers to give up on birth parents too quickly, or to not sincerely work on reunification efforts. 23
  24. 24. Myths and Concerns  Concurrent planning just means having a back up plan, you don’t actually have to do any work on this plan until you know for sure that reunification is not going to happen. 24
  25. 25. Myths and Concerns  You can do concurrent planning anytime during the life of a case. 25
  26. 26. Myths and Concerns  When DFCS implements concurrent planning, every child in foster care will have to have a concurrent plan. 26
  27. 27. Myths and Concerns  Resource parents will sabotage the reunification efforts because they just want to adopt. 27
  28. 28. Agenda  Foundational Matters  Concurrent Planning Nationally  Concurrent Planning in Georgia  The Trials & Tribulations of CP at the County Level  Questions & Answers 28
  29. 29. STATE COUNTY Conveying the Message 29
  30. 30. 1. Staff Challenges 30
  31. 31. 2. Restructuring the Agency 31  Implementing Mirrored Units  New Terminology for My 6 F.P.’s  Partnership Parents: (formerly foster parents): refers to individuals who provide temporary care for children who are placed in out-of-the-home and are in the temporary custody of DFCS. PP are expected to engage in some level of partnership with the birth parents of children in their home, and to actively work with the birth parents toward reunification.  Resource Parents: Refers to a subset of PP who are reserved as resources for children with concurrent plans. These parents also work in partnership with birth parents toward reunification, but they also agree to be the child’s permanent resource IF reunification is not successful.
  32. 32. 3. Forced Creativity 32  The Visitation Center  The First 48
  33. 33. 4. Limits in Data Systems 33
  34. 34. 5. Learning Lessons the Hard Way34  Strategic Permanency Planning from the Start:
  35. 35. Questions? “Concurrent Planning will Not Produce Miracles, and Expectations Should Reflect as Much.”  Resources:  DFCS Concurrent Planning Resources   National Resource Center for Permanency & Family Connections  35