"Our promise to every child is that they will leave the foster care system with a permanent family."
When children must be removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, Family & Children’s Services of Santa Cruz County (FCS) works to establish permanency for them as quickly as possible. The first choice for permanency is generally reunification, safely returning the child to the home of his or her birth parent. However, that is not always possible. Not all birth parents are able to take the necessary steps to assure long-term safety of children. When a child cannot safely return to the birth parents, we must come up with an alternate permanent plan.
Concurrent Planning is a process that allows FCS to provide reunification services to the child and the family at the same time as FCS works on that alternative plan, such as adoption, guardianship, or placement with a fit and willing relative. In the past, child welfare workers have focused their early efforts on attempting to rehabilitate parents and return children home. Only after those efforts were proven unsuccessful were alternative plans identified and put into place. Through Concurrent Planning, a child can be placed into a permanent home far more quickly.
If a case is determined to be appropriate for Concurrent Planning, FCS looks for an available family that is a good match for the child. The family is asked to support reunification efforts and also be willing to adopt the child or become the child’s guardian if reunification cannot be safely carried out.
FCS holds a strong commitment to concurrent planning because the benefits to children are so significant. That being said, we also recognize that concurrent planning may not be easy on foster parents hoping to adopt. For those able to support this process, we will do our best to support you back! We provide extensive training and ongoing support to prepare foster parents for the built-in challenges that come with engaging in the concurrent planning process.