What is Early Permanence?

What is Early Permanence?

We know from research that it is damaging to children if they are moved any more than is absolutely necessary around the care system from carer to carer. Permanence is needed for children to thrive. Early Permanence is the umbrella term given to different arrangements including Fostering for Adoption and Concurrency that are designed to speed up a child’s journey through care and to reduce the number of moves a child in the care system potentially makes. These placements are used for children whose chances of returning to live with their birth families are much lower than for other children in care, so there is a high likelihood that they will need a plan for adoption.

Babies and children are placed with approved adopters who are also approved as foster carers. These Early Permanence carers then act as foster carers to the child while the courts decide whether or not a child can return to their birth family. Children can be placed individually or with their brothers and sisters through Early Permanence. They may come to their Early Permanence carers from a temporary foster carer or directly from their birth family.

If the courts decide that the child should be adopted the Early Permanence carers can then go on to adopt the child. If the courts decide that the child should live with their birth family the Early Permanence carers will work with the local authority to help the child return to their birth family.

We are looking for prospective adopters who are emotionally resilient, flexible and able to put the needs of babies and children first by providing this route to adoption.

  • You can read the story of one Early Permanence carer who went on to adopt her baby son here
  • And a book of Early Permanence stories here

Early Permanence offers huge advantages for children including:

  • It speeds up the planning for vulnerable babies, younger/older children and sibling groups.
  • It avoids the traumatic upheaval for the child when moving from a foster home to a new adoptive family.
  • It avoids possible multiple moves in care, which are traumatic for babies/child’s chance to form a secure attachment.
  • It enables the bonding period with adoptive parents to start sooner, giving both baby and carers the opportunity of forming a close and secure attachment.
  • The adults (who are most capable) take on the emotional risk, not the child.

In March 2018 CCS became the first adoption agency in the UK to receive a new Early Permanence Quality Mark in recognition of our excellent practice in this area of work. CCS Adoption was re-awarded the EP Quality Mark in 2022.

We work across the Adoption West and South West areas in Bristol, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon, Wiltshire and South Wales.

Early Permanence FAQs

The care and experiences a child encounters in their first few months and years of life lay the foundations for their future development and emotional well-being. Therefore, the majority of Early Permanence placements sought are for babies and very young children. However, children of any age benefit from being in a secure and loving home as quickly as possible so increasingly Early Permanence is also being considered for older children.

Yes, you can. As an agency, we have a lot of experience with adopters with children in the family who have taken the Early Permanence route to adoption. Many of these families believe that already having children helped them manage the uncertainty and challenges of Early Permanence.

Yes, you can. Again, we have experience with single adopters offering Early Permanence. As for all adopters, you will need a very strong and helpful support network.

Early Permanence carers (Concurrent or Fostering for Adoption) are entitled to claim adoption leave and pay (if they are eligible for them) from the point a child is placed with them under such arrangements. All Early Permanence carers will have their own particular circumstances and they should research both their entitlements and what their employers offer individually.

Early Permanence carers are also entitled to their local Regional Adoption Agencies/local authority’s fostering allowance when the child is first placed, as at this stage they will be acting as foster carers for the child. This would continue until either the placement turns into adoption or the child returns to their birth family.

We recognise that Early Permanence is emotionally challenging and therefore offer enhanced social work support and a range of peer support opportunities for Early Permanence carers. For more detail about what support is available to Early Permanence carers, please click here.

We recognise that Early Permanence can be challenging for people’s support networks we therefore encourage adopters to think of offering this to encourage family or friends to attend the various training opportunities we offer. Further information for Family and Friends here. Those offering close support to Early Permanence carers can also join the closed Support Through Early Permanence (STEP) Group. For a summary of the support available to early Permanence carers’ family and friends, click here.

  • To be emotionally robust and resilient, to cope with a significant level of uncertainty about the child’s future.
  • To be able to cope with loss and have resolved losses in their own lives.
  • To act as a foster carer and work with the birth family whilst looking after the child. This may involve meeting birth parents at “contact” 2 or 3 times a week.
  • To be willing to adopt the child if that is the path that is decided.

Birth Parents

If your child is in local authority care or the local authority is considering placing your child in care, you may feel angry, upset and confused. If Early Permanence (Concurrency or Fostering for Adoption) has been mentioned as the type of care plan the local authority is considering for your child you may want to understand more about what is being considered.

Early Permanence (both Concurrency and Fostering for Adoption) is a way of trying to ensure that your child’s care is as stable as possible (i.e. avoiding potential further moves in care) and that they reach their permanent home (either within the birth family or outside of it) as quickly as possible. Finding a safe, stable and permanent home for your child is really important for your child’s well-being from the point they enter care.

Having your child placed in an Early Permanence placement does not pre-judge the courts’ final decision, or disadvantage you in any way. But it provides stability and security for your child should the courts decide they need a permanent home outside of the family.

For more detailed information on Early Permanence for Birth Parents please download this leaflet Information for Parents.

If you are thinking about relinquishing a child, the Regional Adoption Agency/local authority may wish to consider an Early Permanence placement for your child as a route to adoption. Please click on the link below for more information.

Information for Parents Thinking About Relinquishment.

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