Concurrent Planning Vs Fostering for Adoption


Concurrent Planning is for babies and young children under 2 in care who are likely to need adoption, but who still have a chance of being reunited with their birth family.

Concurrent carers perform the role of foster carer while the courts decide whether or not a child can return to its birth family.

During this time the children will need to see their parents regularly and the concurrent carers will need to support the birth family’s efforts to regain the care for their child.

If the courts decide that the birth parents have shown they can be reliable, able and loving parents, the babies will be returned to their care.  The concurrent carers will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have given these children the best possible start in life by providing care and security from the earliest time, and will help them settle back into their family.

However, if the courts decide that the child’s parents cannot provide the security and care they need, and there are no alternative carers, the child will remain with their concurrent carer/s and be adopted by them.


Fostering for Adoption places a child during the period of temporary local authority care with foster carers who are also approved as adopters. If the court agrees that the child should be adopted and the adoption agency approves the ‘match’ between the carers as adopters and the child, the placement becomes an adoption placement.


  • They are placed with carers who may become their adopters, giving permanence at an early stage
  • It avoids the damage caused by terminating temporary foster care relationships which they will have experienced as their primary parenting relationship
  • It allows the early months and years of the child’s life to be what most children need and expect

So, regarding the differences between the two, I can’t say for sure that I know what they are. However, I do know that in either case the potential adopters are very much ‘foster carers’ in both the eyes of the law and the expectations placed upon them by Social Workers/the care system. The following from a blog post on NFS really confirmed for Ethan and I that adoption via fostering would just not work for us:

“You need to be solely about the child, fostering is nothing to do with your heart, your expectations, your wish for a family, it is first and foremost all about the child. You are there to support and care for the child, and that means taking them to contact with their birth families, that can be every day, especially if the birth mother is breast feeding and is normally for 2 hour contacts, you will be referring to the birth parents as mummy and daddy as that is who they are in this, the children can and normally do come out from these contacts in a bit of a state and you need to help and support them through that, every day, you have no say in how this is done and have no control over changing any of it for the child. The court process insists that many steps need to be taken to support the birth family in sorting out their issues and making sure there are no other suitable family members to take the children. Which if there are is favoured as it keeps them safe but in their family network, special guardianship orders (SGOs) are very popular at the moment. In the last two years myself and my fellow colleagues have had half of our children go to family members on SGOs. Also although the court process is suppose (sic) to be dealt with in 6 months, this in reality is not happening, you could have that child 12-18 months and then they could go to someone else.”

Fostering is something I’d really like to do in the future but Ethan isn’t so keen. He can’t bear the idea of all the endings and separations: building a relationship with a child then letting him or her go, over and over. In my mind, the care system needs foster carers – it depends on them. Although foster care isn’t ideal for a child it’s the least worst option. If you can be a good foster carer/family, then you have an opportunity to show a child that adult’s can be trusted, that endings don’t need to be catastrophic, you can give that child something compassionate, understanding and consistent, even if only for a short time.

It’s early days for us; we’re only just starting our adoption journey – but if life makes it possible in the future, I’d love the chance to make that kind of difference.

1 thought on “Concurrent Planning Vs Fostering for Adoption

  • I don’t think I could Foster for the same reasons as Ethan, I’d be broken hearted having to say goodbye. I think that your rationale behind wanting to one day consider fostering is fantastic and very selfless x

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