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2.1.b Concurrent planning

For many reasons, including the
dissatisfaction of law-makers, the rules and expectations for placement
agencies and foster parents have changed. At the top of the change list is how
long a child can remain in care. Although the exact limit varies some from
state to state, a child can’t continue on foster care status indefinitely.
Planning for the child’s future starts on the first day of placement and has to
lead to permanence either back with his family or with another permanent family.
In every case, though, foster care is a step toward permanence for the child.

Planning for permanence for children while also working with their
families so children can return home if possible is called “concurrent
planning.” Those working with children in care have two goals. First, if
the child’s parents can work through their problems and issues so their child
can come home within a reasonable amount of time, that is the preferred
outcome. Second, if the first goal isn’t reached, there is an alternative
permanence plan.

For most children in care, the primary plan is returning to their
families. This is called “reunification.” The second or backup plan
is permanence for the child with other relatives or in an adoptive home. The
special challenge is being sure both the primary and backup plans are receiving
everyone’s best and most thoughtful efforts. They must work on both plans

From your
point of view:

Write your
thoughts after each question.

•           What
does it mean for children that a limit is put on how long they are left in

•           What
special challenges are there for foster parents, knowing planning for children
in care either returning home or being in an alternative, permanent home starts
on the first day of placement?

•           How
important is it for the placement of a child to work well and to avoid his
being moved to a second or third foster home?

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