Outcomes of Coram Concurrent Planning: Summary of findings

Coram is the only specialist centre for concurrent planning practice in the UK and has undertaken a study to examine the social, emotional and educational outcomes for the children who have reached permanency through the scheme.

In concurrent planning foster carers are recruited who are also approved as adopters. They must be willing to foster a baby and support his or her return to the birth parent, with the possibility that, if unsuccessful, the fostering arrangement will lead to adoption. This minimises the disruption to secure attachment that so often occurs where a baby with a high probability of needing to be adopted (on the basis of past history) is first placed with foster carers and then moved to an adoptive placement only once a final decision can be made.

In 2011, Coram began an exploratory study of the progress of children who had been placed by its concurrent planning service, inviting participation from families whose children had been in placement for two years or more.

In 2012, an interim report was published based on preliminary findings (Coram Concurrent Planning Study: Interim Report). Now the final report has been published, Outcomes of Coram Concurrent Planning: Summary of findings. It focuses on the health, wellbeing and educational engagement and attainment of children placed through concurrent planning as well as placement stability.

Key Findings

  • Concurrent planning was effective in ensuring early security and ongoing parental commitment to very vulnerable children
  • Relative to later placement, this evidence suggests a lower risk of placement breakdown (whether in adoptive or kin placement) and lower rates of emotional and behavioural difficulties in children
  • Adoptive parents greatly valued having had care of the children as babies, and reported that their children valued their ability to recall their babyhood
  • A higher proportion (68%) of children placed through concurrent planning were free of major difficulties than the later placed children (53% in Selwyn’s study; 43% in Rushton and Dance)
  • Many adoptive parents discussed the importance of post adoption support and what they look for in post-adoption services