Early permanence

Early permanence seeks to reduce the number of moves a child experiences, so they are able to achieve permanence at the earliest possible point.

To understand a bit more about moves and why they matter, read this article.

Early permanence placements are usually either done through concurrent planning or through fostering to adopt. In both of these, families are approved to both foster and adopt, and children are placed with them at the earliest possible point, often as a newborn baby. For either type of early permanence placement, social workers believe the likelihood of adoption is high.

Concurrent planning

The difference is that concurrent planning means that although adoption is certainly a potential outcome, social workers are still completing assessments and exploring options for the child to be able to grow up within their birth family, either with their birth parents or another family member (known as kinship care). In concurrent planning placements, it is very likely that the child will have regular contact with birth parents and/or other relatives, while the assessments are taking place.

Foster to adopt

Fostering to adopt usually means that most assessments have taken place and the child's plan is for adoption, but the placement order has not yet been issued by the family court. In this case, it is likely there will still be contact until the placement order is granted, and there is also a chance that other birth family members may be identified as potential carers for the child, so further assessments could be needed.

In all early permanence placements, the child is initially being fostered while the courts reach a decision. This could take a few weeks, or could be months. In some cases this can be in excess of a year, particularly when extended birth family members are identified at a later stage and require an assessment.

Understanding early permanence: Safi's story

Early permanence is an incredibly child-focused approach. It seeks to protect them from multiple moves and giving them the best chance to form strong early attachments, but obviously, it comes with a level of risk to the fostering family who are open to adopting them. Until a placement order for adoption is made by the family courts, there will be a period of uncertainty and carers need to recognise this and accept their role as foster carers during this time.

Further, it can be the case (as with Safi's story above) that there is very little known about children who are placed through early permanence, particularly regarding their future health and development. Of course this is the case with every adoption, but knowledge will often be extremely limited with young or newborn babies.

If you are interested in offering a child a home through early permanence, take time to pray and think this through.

If you want to explore early permanence further, contact our enquiry line on 0300 001 0995 and we can connect you with our partner agencies who specialise in early permanence, or complete the form below.

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