4305. Permanent and Concurrent Planning

Approval:   Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date: 2000 

Revised Date: July 24, 2015

Policy Review: June 30, 2018


Purpose 

Permanency planning starts at first contact with the family and continues until a permanency goal is achieved.

Concurrent planning provides for timely reunification services while anticipating and preparing for an alternate permanent plan.

Scope

This policy applies to all Division of Children and Family Services staff.

Laws

Policy

  1. A permanency planning goal must be identified for all children in out-of-home care no later than 60 days from the Original Placement Date (OPD).
  2. CA's written report to the court must identify concurrent plans. A permanent plan includes how the department is working towards securing a safe, stable and permanent home for the child. The court report must address the following:
    1. Primary and alternate permanent plans being pursued concurrently. Permanent and alternate permanent plan options only include:
      1. Return of home to the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian
      2. Adoption
      3. Guardianship
      4. Third party/non-parental custody
    2. Reasonable efforts to return the child to his/her birth/adoptive parents.
    3. How the permanency plan is in the best interest of the child.
    4. How the agency has worked toward securing a safe, stable and permanent home for the child as early as possible.
  3. Long-term foster or relative care is not a permanent plan. It is only considered when other permanent plans are determined not to be in the best interest of a child age 16 and older as the results of a shared planning decision making process. Continued efforts must be made to achieve legal permanency, unless determined to not be in the child’s best interest.
  4. CA must consider a permanent plan that allows the parent to maintain a relationship with the child when a parent:
    1. Is sentenced to long-term incarceration;
    2. Has maintained a meaningful role in the child's life;
    3. There is no court order limiting or prohibiting contact; and
    4. It is in the child's best interest.
  5. Citizenship and immigration status of the child should be determined early in the case and should be re-confirmed prior to establishing a permanent plan per 4211 Foreign Consulate policy.

Procedures

  1. Plan:
    1. Utilize the shared planning process when making permanency planning decisions for children in out-of-home care according to the timelines in the 1710 Shared Planning policy. Any changes in a permanent plan require a new shared planning meeting. Staff permanent plans with your supervisor. Refer to Indian Child Welfare policies and procedures ICW Chapter 10 for all Indian children.
    2. Determine the best interest of the child by consider the following:
      1. The child's wishes and long-term goals
      2. Medical issues
      3. Age of the child
      4. The child's connections to his or her identity, affiliations to his or her community, tribe, church, school, religious/spiritual beliefs, relatives and friends
      5. The long-term needs of the child
      6. The emotional ties and development needs and how these can be met through the identified permanent plan
  2. Document:
    1. The primary and alternate permanent plan on both the shared planning page and the Permanency Planning page in FamLink.
    2. The reasons the identified permanent plan is in the best interest of the child in the case plan.
    3. When siblings are not placed together:
      1. Document exception(s) or other reasons siblings are being placed apart as it applies to each child on the Sibling Visit Details tab in the FamLink Visit Plan Page.
      2. Print a copy of the Sibling Visit Details tab in the FamLink Visit Page; obtain approval signatures from supervisor and Area Administrator.
      3. Upload approved Sibling Visit Details document into FamLink.
  3. Permanent Plans:
    1. Identify a primary and alternate plan from the following options:
      1. Always consider Return Home as the primary permanent plan for a child when all the following conditions are met:
        1. Aggravated circumstances do not exist.
        2. It is likely the child will return home per 43051 Reasonable Efforts to Return a Child Home policy.
        3. The plan of returning home is in the best interests of the child.
        4. The child (as age and developmentally appropriate) has been consulted regarding the potential benefits and risks of the return home.
        5. Safety threats are eliminated or can be managed in the family home.
      2. Consider Adoption, per 4330. Adoption Process policy, when a child is unable to return home and when all the following conditions are met:
        1. The child was removed from parents and is dependent.
        2. Parental rights will likely be terminated by the court or relinquishment has been or will be accepted by both CA and the court.
        3. Reasonable efforts were provided to the parent(s) to safely reunify the child to his or her care. The parent(s) have not made sufficient and timely progress in addressing the parental deficiencies that brought the child into care and this is documented in the case file.
        4. The plan is in the best interests of the child.
        5. Aggravated circumstances may exist. Refer to 6120 Permanency Plan Review policy.
        6. The child (as age and developmentally appropriate) has been provided education about the impacts of adoption. Children over the age of 14 must sign consent for the adoption.
        7. The child and sibling are in the same placement, the permanent plan is adoption for that sibling and also in the best interest of this child.
        8. The prospective adoptive parent has an approved adoptive home study per 5330 Family Home Study policy.
      3. Consider Title 13 Guardianship per 4340 Guardianship policy when the following conditions are met:
        1. The child was removed from the parents through a Voluntary Placement Agreement (VPA) or the child is a dependent of CA or tribe.
        2. A determination is made through the shared planning process that it is not in the best interests of the child to pursue reunification or adoption.
        3. The plan of guardianship is in the best interest of the child.
        4. The proposed caregiver has the ability to meet the child's special needs without CA case management and social worker support and the caregiver:
          1. Can make a commitment to parent the child until adulthood.
          2. Has a significant relationship with the child.
          3. Has an approved family home study per 5330 Family Home Study policy or 45274 Unlicensed Placements - Home Study Requirements policy.
        5. The Permanency Planning Benefits and Limitation Matrix has been reviewed with the proposed caregiver.
        6. The child and a sibling are in the same placement, the permanent plan is Title 13 Guardianship for that sibling and guardianship is also in the best interests of this child.
        7. If the child is considered an Indian as defined in the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act and the Tribe(s) is involved and requesting a guardianship. If a guardianship subsidy is being requested the child and the prospective guardian must meet R-GAP eligibility requirements.
        8. The child (as age and developmentally appropriate) has been consulted regarding the potential benefits and risks of the permanency plan and the child has stated preference for the identified plan.
      4. Consider Third Party Custody when the following conditions are met:
        1. The child was removed from the parent(s) through a VPA or the child is a dependent of CA or tribe.
        2. A determination is made through the shared planning process that it is not in the best interests of the child to pursue reunification, adoption or Title 13 Guardianship.
        3. The plan is in the best interest of the child.
        4. The proposed caregiver has the ability to meet the child's special needs without CA case management and social worker support and:
          1. Can make a commitment to parent the child until adulthood.
          2. Has a significant relationship with the child.
        5. If placement has been made with the proposed caregiver, the caregiver must have an approved family home study per 5330 Family Home Study or 45274 Unlicensed Placements policy.
        6. The Permanency Planning Supports and Resources Matrix has been reviewed with the proposed caregiver.
        7. The child and sibling are in the same placement, the permanent plan is third party custody for that sibling and third party custody is also in the best interests of this child.
        8. If the child is considered an Indian as defined in the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act and the tribe(s) is involved and requesting third party custody.
      5. Third Party Custody/Non-Parental Custody actions may be initiated by the proposed caregiver in Family Court and for the matter to be heard by Family Court the Juvenile Court must waive its exclusive jurisdiction.
  4. Long-Term Foster or Relative Care Agreements must only be considered when children are age 16 and over and all the following conditions are met:
    1. The child was removed from the parents and is dependent.
    2. A determination is made through the shared planning process that it is not in the best interest of the child to pursue legal permanency options: reunification, adoption, guardianship or third party custody.
    3. The plan is in the best interest of the child and the child needs the stability offered by this living arrangement.
    4. Compelling reasons per 43061 Compelling Reasons policy must be reviewed at every court hearing and the court must find that the compelling reasons still exist and are documented in FamLink.
    5. The child has made a significant connection to the caregiver and has resided with the caregiver for over six months.
    6. The Permanency Planning Supports and Resources Matrix has been reviewed with the proposed caregiver.
    7. The youth (age 16 and over) has been consulted regarding the potential benefits and risks of the permanency plan and the youth has indicated a preference for the identified plan and is willing to sign the agreement.
    8. The youth over the age of 16 and capable of giving consent has agreed to sign consent for the long-term foster care agreement and is aware of the potential benefits/risks of other permanency plans.
    9. The caregiver:
      1. Makes a commitment to care for the child until the age of 18 or 21 if applicable.
      2. Shows an ability to meet child's special needs.
      3. Demonstrates an understanding that the child remains in the custody of CA and under CA's control and further demonstrates an ability to cooperate with CA in shared planning for the child.
      4. Agrees to enter into a long-term foster care or relative care agreement approved by the court.
      5. Signs a Long-Term Care Agreement for Foster Parent or Relative Caregivers DSHS 15-322.
      6. The Regional Administrator signs the Checklist for Approval Long-Term Agreement for Foster Parents or Relative Caregivers DSHS 15-323.
      7. Demonstrates an understanding of permanency as a long-term, life-long connection and has agreed to support the youth in his or her transition to adulthood.

Forms and Tools

Resources