Early permanence is the umbrella term given to placement types intended to speed up a child’s journey through care and minimise the disruption of repeated moves to different families. This aims to enable children to experience a loving and secure home in which they feel safe and settled as quickly as possible.

When a child can’t live with their birth family, local authorities and the courts are responsible for finding a new family without delay. Children cannot wait.

But children in care do wait. The adults with responsibility to make plans and decisions for a child must explore all available options for the child's care before a decision is made to seek adopters. In most cases, during this time the child lives with foster carers. Foster carers do a wonderful and vital job but children usually only stay with them temporarily while their future is decided, and quite often, children experience a number of temporary placements. Early permanence can decrease uncertainty for children by reducing the number of moves they experience and the trauma associated with this upheaval.


Download our Guidance Notes (PDF, 444KB)



Early permanence placement types include Fostering for Adoption and Concurrency.

Fostering for Adoption

Fostering for Adoption is where a child in care is placed with registered foster carers who have also been approved as adopters. The foster carers care for the child, whilst the child's social worker works with and assesses his or her birth family and makes a recommendation to the Court about the child's future care. During this period the plans for the child’s future are yet to be decided by the courts.

If the Courts decides that adoption is the best option to secure the child's future wellbeing then the fostering placement becomes an adoption placement. The foster carers become the adopters and make an application to the Court to formally adopt the child.

Concurrency

Concurrency is where babies and children are placed with carers who are approved as both foster carers and adopters and where the child’s social worker has decided that they would be suitable to adopt the child if the plan for adoption is agreed by the Court. Social workers place children with concurrency carers where it is expected that the child will need to be adopted, but there is still a possibility of them being returned to their birth families.

While the child is in placement, the child's social worker will continue to work with and assess the child’s birth family and encourage them to demonstrate their ability to care for their child. During this time the foster carers may be asked to attend supervised contact with the birth family.

If the Court decides that adoption is the best option to secure the child’s future well-being, the fostering placement becomes an adoption placement. The foster carers become the adopters, and make an application to the Court to formally adopt the child.

There is a degree of uncertainty inherent in these placements. Early permanence carers manage this uncertainty, because it is better for the children. They experience a secure and stable home while the complicated legal process is properly dealt with, and whatever the outcome, they will be in a better place to benefit from either their continuing care with their adopters, or much improved care within their birth family.

What does early permanence achieve?

The process