Concurrent planning reduces problems for adopted children, finds study

Joe Lepper
Friday, March 28, 2014

Children adopted through concurrent planning are less likely to experience problems, such as school exclusion, behaviour difficulties and depression, than those who are placed with families at a later stage.

Offering support to foster parents and children can be key to concurrent planning succeeding.
Offering support to foster parents and children can be key to concurrent planning succeeding.

The Coram study of concurrent planning, where children are placed at an early stage with foster carers who are able to adopt them, found 68 per cent of children placed this way were free of major difficulties and needed either no or very little extra support.

Coram’s research looked at other studies for adopted children who were placed without concurrent planning and found a higher proportion experienced problems. At best 53 per cent, and at worst 43 per cent, were free of major problems, these studies showed.

This latest research focuses on experiences of around 50 children who were placed in care and later adopted by the same family using the concurrent planning method. All were under two when initially placed and none of the placements had broken down.

Other findings were that support, particularly emotional help, during foster care and adoption proceedings was highly valued by families.

Jeanne Kaniuk, Coram’s head of adoption and permanent families service, said: “Concurrent planning for families can be enormously emotional due to the high level of uncertainty. They take on the children knowing that they may not be able to adopt them and can be returned to their family.”

The ethos behind concurrent planning is that it minimises disruption to children and is often brought in when there is a high probability that the child would not return to their birth family.

The government wants to see more councils use the method as a way of speeding up the adoption process, and issued advice on the subject in 2012.

The Children and Families Act also paves the way for greater support for prospective parents who use the foster-to-adopt route.

Kaniuk says that 17 councils have already signed up to Coram’s Concurrent Planning Subscription Service, which offers guidance around issues such as training and supervision. 

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