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Concurrent Planning and Adoptive Matching


What is Concurrent Planning and Matching?

Concurrent planning and matching are simply terms that refer to to different steps in the court dependency process. What is important for adoptive parents to be aware of is how these timelines affect the level of risk in adoption. The term "Foster/Adoption" may be confusing to some as it implies a lack of placement permanency. Although foster children identified for adoption through California's foster to adoption system are technically considered foster children prior to adoption finalization, the real determining factor in placement permanency is the child's status in the Court Process - (opens in new window).

The following may help you determine whether Concurrent Planning or Matching may be a better fit for you.

Concurrent Planning: (generally ages 0 – 17)
Best For: Ages 0-5, or if a Caucasian or Hispanic child is desired.
Consider if: You are willing to accept higher levels of risk (reunification with birth parents or relatives) to adopt a younger child.
Not Appropriate for: Parents less willing to accept risk.

Matching: (generally ages 6 – 17)
Best For: Ages 6 and up, children may be legally free.
Consider if: You are unwilling to accept higher levels of risk or wish to adopt an older child.
Not Appropriate for: Parents wanting to adopt infants and toddlers.

It is important to note that Concurrent Planning and Matching are not mutually exclusive. You may wish to match with an older child (over 5) AND be a concurrent planning family looking to adopt a toddler or infant. Adopting children from the foster care system is a complex topic and there is no 100% risk-free adoption, be it international or domestic. For this reason we encourage you to Contact Us so one of our experienced professionals may answer your questions in greater depth and more fully explain the process in one of our one on one personal interviews.

Concurrent Planning:

Although there are exceptions, infants and toddlers are generally in Concurrent Planning and the overall risk of the child being reunified with the biological parent is higher. When children enter the foster care system, they may be in what is called a Concurrent Plan. This means that the court is looking at both the possibility of reunification with the birth parent or a relative and a permanent adoptive placement. As part of the Concurrent Plan, there is a 6 to 18 month (6 - 12 months is most common) time period in which biological parents are offered court ordered services. If these services, which may include drug/alcohol treatment, mental health services, job assistance, etc. are followed through and completed, the birth parents have a good chance of reunification with their children. However, if the parents fail to complete court ordered services or reunification services are terminated for other reasons by the court, the child will likely continue on to adoption.

Please keep in mind that the central goal of Concurrent Planning is reunification with the birth parents and Adoption is the secondary plan. Families interested in concurrent planning must be willing to help facilitate these reunification efforts. This will include transportation for birth parents' visitation. Families must be willing to accept the risk inherent in concurrent planning, be prepared to experience loss, while also preparing for possible adoption.

If you were to adopt a child during the Concurrent Plan phase, the risk of the child being reunified with the biological parent is higher. However, if there are no relatives, the relatives do not qualify, or the parents do not follow through with their court ordered services or reunification services are terminated for other reasons, the child will often continue on to adoption.

Matching:

Matching is also part of the Foster/Adopt process, however it is a term we use when children are further along in the court process, parental rights may or may not have been terminated. Matching generally applies to older children (5 and up), sibling sets, and/or children with special needs. These adoptions are inherently lower risk because the children are further along in the court process and are less likely to reunify or are "legally freed" for adoption. Children may be in matching if:

Our Role in Adoptive Placements:

Our Role in the Placement Process:
Our role in the adoption process is that of the adoptive family advocate, we are in essence the "family workers". As a private agency unter State regulations, we train, complete a Home Study and certify prospective adoptive families according to State law, and guide them through the adoption process up to and including the finalization.

The County Adoption Workers are considered the "child workers". They are actively seeking out adoptive families for adoptive children under their care. This is where we advocate for you, the adoptive family, and actively work with them as a team to achieve the best match for the adoptive child and family. The County Adoption Workers make all final placement decisions based on their perceived suitability of a match.

Contact During the Placement Process:
The placement process is very interactive and we will be in frequent contact with you to discuss potential matches. During the matching process, your Home Study and family picture book will be presented to County Adoption Workers throughout California. Our Adoption Workers regularly attend exchange meetings where County Adoption workers from many counties gather to review the Home Studies and picture books of waiting adoptive families. In addition, we are in nearly constant contact with local and regional County Adoption workers who are looking for possible matches for adoptive children.

There are a variety of factors that determine a County Adoption Worker's decision to place an adoptive child with a particular adoptive family. We will be happy to explore this topic in more depth with you in the individual orientation.

Waiting for a child can be a roller coaster for adoptive families. The court processes involved take time but ultimately lead to legally sound finalizations. After finalization, biological relatives have no legal recourse to the adoptive children. In fact, your newly adopted child will receive a new birth certificate and Social Security number to ensure their security and confidentiality.


Placement:

When a potential match has been identified, one of our Adoption Workers will accompany you to a Disclosure meeting with the County Adoption Worker. By law, the legal custodian of the child (the County) must disclose information about the child to families pursuing adoption. At the time of the adoption placement signing, the adoptive family will receive hardcopies of information that had been previously disclosed, as well as any additional information that has been obtained.

During a Disclosure meeting the County Adoption Worker for the adoptive child will meet with the family in order to provide information regarding the following:

This is also an opportunity for the County Adoption Worker to meet with you face to face and discuss aspects of your Home Study. As part of the Home Study process, we will prepare you for what questions to expect during this meeting.

After disclosure, if the decision is made to move forward, a pre-placement visit will generally be arranged. This visit may take place in the adoptive child's current foster home or a neutral setting such as a park or restaurant. Depending on the age of the child, these visits may progress to overnight visits at your home, or an immediate placement.


Post-Placement:

For 6 months after the initial placement, the identified adoptive child is technically still considered a foster child regardless of their court status, even if they are legally freed for adoption. During this time we render our extensive post placement support services, including:


During this time you will also receive a monthly reimbursement to help offset expenditures. After finalization, this rate will change to the placing county's Adoption Assistance Program rate.

Finalization:


This is the event anticipated by all adoptive families since beginning their journey into adoption! Your Adoption Social Worker will accompany you to appear before a judge and sign the finalization order, the adoption is legally binding and irrevocable at this time.


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