Moving Toward Implementation Through Interagency Education: Concurrent Planning in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases
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In child abuse and neglect cases, a reunification plan for putting the child(ren) back in the care of the parent(s) is developed in tandem with an alternative permanent placement plan for the child in a process termed concurrent planning. Concurrent planning is a tenet of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 enacted in Missouri in 2004 (HB 1453). The goal of concurrent planning is to avoid multiple placements of a child in the child welfare system, thereby reducing the level of uncertainty in the child's life as well as the emotional risks posed by multiple placements. In concurrent planning, the role of those in the child welfare system is to simultaneously work toward placing a child back with the parent while recognizing that reunification efforts are not always successful. Rather than placing the child in a foster care setting where permanency is not an option, the child is placed with a foster family that is willing to work toward reunification and serve as a permanent home should the reunification fail. The dual and seemingly contradictory goals of concurrent planning make it a difficult concept to implement for both child abuse and neglect (CA/N) caseworkers and juvenile courts. Since 2004 when these changes went into effect, child welfare workers have experienced varying degrees of success in identifying and placing children in foster care settings that could become permanent homes in the future. Additionally, the conflicting nature of the goals of concurrent planning have led to confusion for some in terms of when the alternative placement plan should begin, how the plan should be discussed with biological parents, and the role of the juvenile court in assuring a concurrent plan is in place.
Stokes, S. D. & Sanders, B. (2006). Moving Toward Implementation Through Interagency Education: Concurrent Planning in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. Report 8-2006. Retrieved [09-21-09], from University of Missouri Columbia, Institute of Public Policy Web site:http://www.truman.missouri.edu/ipp/publications/index.asp?ViewBy=Date