You will be approved as both foster carers and adopters, meaning that you will initially perform the role of foster carer while the courts decide whether or not the child can return to his/her birth family. During this period the child will need to see their birth family regularly and you will need to bring the child or children to a contact centre.
The majority of the children placed (*90%) through our service do go onto be adopted by their concurrent carers. They will have had the benefit of being placed with their potential permanent family early on and experience no moves or disruptions in their early relationships; we know this is crucial for future attachment.
After careful assessment and consideration, the court may decide it is in the child’s best interests to return home to their birth family and the child maybe returned to their care. Concurrent carers will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have given the child the best possible start in life by providing care and security from the earliest stages and will play at part in helping them settle back into their family.
* Statistic for 135 children placed through our service as at October 2020.
The largest service of its kind in the country – delivered in partnership
Caritas Care partnered with Adoption Matters in 2014 to form the Concurrent Planning Service to offer this innovative route for some young children in the care system. The service is now one of the largest services of its kind in the UK and covers the whole of the North West including; Lancashire, Greater Manchester; Cheshire; Wirral and Merseyside areas. We have now placed over 100 children through the service and approved over 100 individuals and families.
The age of the child
Children placed through this service are often much younger. During the last six years, nearly 70% of children placed through our service were under the age of 6 weeks. However, over the last six months this age range is growing and we are seeing a need for individuals and families to consider babies and young children aged from 1-2 years including, sibling groups.
Due to the young age of the children placed, one carer, if applying as a couple, will need to be based at home full time for a minimum of 6 months of the fostering phase in order to help the child to form stable and secure early attachments and to facilitate contact between the child and his/her birth parents when you will be approved as a foster carer.
In 2015, a change in legislation in relation to parental leave also applies to adoption. This was welcome news for families as it means that adoption leave can start from the point that the child is placed under fostering regulations. There is now also greater flexibility in the sharing of adoption leave between partners, if applying as a couple.
During the fostering phase, you will be entitled to a fostering allowance (currently £240 per week) for a minimum of 6 months. This is an allowance payable per child to cover equipment for the child and expenses incurred during the placement; including travelling expenses to and from contact.
Contact will be held on a regular basis with the birth family; this will involve transporting the child or children to a neutral venue agreed with the child’s local authority and ourselves. All contact sessions are supervised by a professional and we will discuss what is involved in this in more depth with you.
Should the plan for the child be adoption at the conclusion of the Court Proceedings, your allowance will cease and it is expected that you will have the financial resources to provide for the child for the remainder of their childhood. Your social worker will talk to you about your financial circumstances as part of your assessment.
Carers who go on to adopt with Concurrent Planning get to know and love their children from a very young age, often from birth, and help them through the time in their life when they are most vulnerable, this is something that may not always be possible with traditional adoption.
It allows you to get to know the child’s birth family through regular contact sessions, which can form the basis for meaningful contact in the future if all parties agree. Getting to know the birth family can be a very important for the child in later life offering them real insight into their early life.
From the onset you will receive a high level of support from the dedicated Concurrent Planning Service team as well as ongoing support through our Adoption Support at Caritas Care Service.
You will be assessed and training through our dedicated Concurrent Planning Service team and offered tailored fostering and adoption training. We service run regular coffee mornings and support groups as well as specialist training. As Caritas Care approved adopter, you will also have access to the full training options through our Adoption Support at Caritas Care Service
You will be allocated a social worker within the team who will offer support and supervision on an individual basis throughout the duration of the placement.
There is an emergency, out of hour’s phone line for all of our carers which is staffed by an experienced member of the service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Our ongoing and comprehensive programme of training and support is available to all our families throughout the process. You will have access to Caritas Care’s Fostering Service full training programme as well as a bespoke package of training and support through the service. In addition to this, you will have access to our Adoption Support at Caritas Care Service.
An example of some of the support offered through the service includes:
- Training specifically for Concurrent Planning
- Focusing on the fostering task.
- A Carers Support Group, held monthly for people in Stage 2
- Workshops designed specifically for family and friends of concurrent planning carers.
What kind of people are we looking for?
We welcome people interested in Adopting with Concurrent Planning irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, religion and disability; we have approved many single people too. We encourage people from many different backgrounds to match the diverse needs of the many children in care who may access this service.
Things you will need to consider
One carer needs to be at home full time during the fostering phase of placement which is a minimum of around 6 months. It is encouraged that you take more time off if you can and to look at sharing your adoption leave if applying as a couple.
You must be able to support the return of a child to their birth family if the court does decide that this is in the child’s best interests. As hard as this is for our carers, we know they take comfort in the knowledge that their care has helped a family reunite and they played a very important role in making this happen. Read Jess’ story here on how she coped when a child placed with her returned home.
You must be loving, emotionally resourceful and at all times able to put the needs of very young children first.
You must be able to respect and work with birth families and be prepared to support contact between children and their families on a very regular basis. All contact sessions are held at a neutral location and supervised by professionals but you will need to be able to take children to and from contacts and meet with family.
You need to be prepared to deal with uncertainty. We will be there to support you every step of the way.
You will need your own strong support networks such as family, friends who you can call on for emotional and practical support.
Interested in finding out more about Adopting with Concurrent Planning?
The Concurrent Planning Service also hold regular information evenings across the North West that can be found on our event pages here, or you can chat to the team direct by calling 0800 652 6955 or click here to enquire online.