Home on Time Project
What is Home on Time?
Home on Time is an innovative concurrent care project which aims to speed up the process for young looked after children to either return home to their parents, or to be adopted by their carers. Concurrent carers are approved to foster and adopt young children who are in the care of Health and Social Care Trusts for as long as this is required. For some children care is needed until it is possible for them to be returned to their families, but for many others, concurrent carers will become their family for life through adoption. Concurrent care will only be considered suitable for a small number of children; most children looked after by Health and Social Care Trusts will have other care plans.
For more information including the benefits of concurrent care, who can be a concurrent carer and the support provided, download the information leaflet here.
For specific information as a professional involved in concurrent care, download leaflet here.
If you are a parent whose child has been placed in concurrent care, you can download an informational leaflet here.
What is concurrent planning?
Concurrent planning involves placing children (often babies under the age of two) with approved foster carers who are also approved to adopt, while social workers and the courts decide whether or not they can safely return to their families. Some children will be placed with concurrent carers directly from hospital at birth, while others will have previously lived with family members or foster carers. In all situations, social workers will have very serious concerns about the parents’ ability to provide care for their child and will be working intensively with them, within agreed timeframes, to assess whether it is possible for the child to be safely returned to their care. During this time, the child will need to see their parents regularly and the concurrent carers will need to support the family’s efforts to regain the care of their child.
What is the role of concurrent carers?
While caring for a child placed with them, the concurrent carers will be required to take the child for regular contact with their parents several times a week. This may involve carers in handing the child over to the parents, passing on essential information on the child’s routine and, if necessary, being present for all or part of the contact meeting. Following detailed assessment, if social workers and the courts are satisfied that the parents have shown they can be reliable, responsive, capable and loving, then the child will be returned to their care. When this happens, the concurrent carers will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have given this child the best possible start by providing care and security during the early stages of their life. The carers may also play an important part in helping the child to settle back into their family so increasing the likelihood that returning home will be a positive experience for the child.
If, however, the social workers and courts decide that the child’s parents cannot provide the security and care they need, and there are no other family members who can care for the child, they will remain with their concurrent carers and be adopted by them.
While most children in concurrent placements are unlikely to return to their families, nevertheless, for each child placed there is a real possibility that this could be the outcome.
Family Care Society, a Specialist Adoption Agency in Northern Ireland, have been invited to work with the five Trusts to recruit families for the Home on Time Project. Click here for more information.
Click here for contact details for your local Health and Social Care Trust Adoption or Family Placement Team.