What is early permanence ?
Early Permanence is a means of placing a child (usually a baby or child under the age of two) with prospective adopters who are also approved as foster carers at an earlier stage whilst assessments of the birth family and the court process are ongoing.
What are the advantages of early permanence?
Most babies and young children who are adopted have to manage several changes of carer and broken attachments. With early permanence, some of this can be avoided when the child is placed with their permanent family earlier and the development of secure attachments can begin, and as an early permanence carer, you will be part of a child’s life at the earliest opportunity.
How does early permanence work?
Concurrent planning and Fostering for Adoption(FfA) are two routes to achieving early permanence for a child who cannot be cared for by their parents or extended family. Both involve a child being placed with approved prospective adopters who are willing to act as foster carers while the court is deciding whether the child can go home or whether s/he should be adopted.
Concurrent carers are assessed for approval as foster carers as well as adopters. Once they have been approved for both roles, they will then wait for a child to be identified where the local authority thinks that adoption may be right for the child but work is still needed before the court makes its decision about adoption.
Concurrent planning is only used if the local authority believes that the child’s parents and extended family are unlikely to be able to care for the child, but this is not yet certain. During the fostering phase, the local authority will have agreed with the birth parent the changes needed for the child to be returned to their parent’s care, and the foster carer must be able to support this. Carers are usually expected to meet with the birth parents and support the child to have contact with them as part of the assessment and to ensure that if the child is returned to the family, there is already a good relationship to build on.
In Fostering for Adoption placements, the local authority will have already reached a clear view that the child should be placed for adoption at the end of court proceedings. However, the judge will not yet have made their decision and sometimes there are unexpected developments such as a previously unknown relative asking to be considered.
Could you be an early permanence carer?
Early permanence carers need to be able to look after a baby through a period of uncertainty about his or her future. They will also need to bring the baby to see their birth parents regularly. You will need to be emotionally resilient and able to balance the uncertainty early permanence creates with the benefits it brings for the child.
At adoption@heart our team will talk with you about early permanence and provide you with additional workshops and training to support you in this role and to allow you to decide if early permanence is right for you and your family.