• February 2006
  • Vol. 7, No. 1

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Concurrent Planning in New York State

Caseworkers, parents, and foster parents view concurrent planning as an effective permanency strategy for children, but there is a need for more training, communication, support, and services. This was the finding of a recent qualitative study with a variety of stakeholders in New York State.

Interviews with 10 child welfare experts, and focus groups and surveys conducted with 10 parents, 19 foster parents, and 16 caseworkers, revealed some differences among the groups in their understanding of certain aspects of concurrent planning:

  • Parents indicated less awareness than other groups of the full implications of concurrent planning, especially with regard to the timeframes imposed by the Adoption and Safe Families Act.
  • Child welfare experts and foster parents indicated that caseworkers often were reluctant to disclose full information to all parties.
  • Child welfare experts and caseworkers felt that the caseworker's role in pursuing concurrent permanency plans for a child placed the worker in a difficult situation. Parents and foster parents reported tension with caseworkers regarding the introduction of "Plan B" or the alternative to reunification.

There were a number of issues on which all groups agreed, including the effectiveness of concurrent planning as a permanency strategy. In addition, recurrence of certain themes among the groups led to the following recommendations:

  • Caseworkers should emphasize clearer communication with parents.
  • Joint training on concurrent planning should be provided to caseworkers and foster parents.
  • Stronger practices regarding full disclosure of information are needed.
  • Foster parents should be involved more fully, and earlier, in the concurrent planning process.

"A Critical Assessment of Concurrent Planning in New York State," by S. Gerstenzang and M. Freundlich, was published in Adoption Quarterly, Volume 8(4), and is available for purchase online.

[Editor's note: this link no longer exists] 


Related Item

The issue brief, Concurrent Planning: What the Evidence Shows, examines findings from the Child and Family Services Reviews as well as  literature on the topic and describes some successful concurrent planning practices from the field:


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