Saturday, 17 November 2018


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Concurrency DVD

The Concurrency and Early Permanence Project has produced a 20 minute DVD as a resource to aid Family Placement Team social workers in the recruitment, assessment and preparation of concurrent carers. However, any prospective concurrent carer or professional may find it useful. Two couples who have experienced caring for children under concurrent planning arrangements talk candidly about their experiences.

If you are a professional interested in purchasing a copy of the DVD please contact the Early Permanence Project Manager:

Sharing Stories

Sharing Stories: Mediation for Life Story work

Children rely on the adults around them to keep their memories safe. Simple questions like "when did I first walk?" or "who do I look like?", or memories such as "I remember staying at a place near a field" need explanation and detail in order to help the child make sense of their history. If the adults don't have the details then they can't help the child answer those questions.


Sharing Stories is a project that works with parents from birth families and foster or adoptive families in order to enable them to share those important stories directly and in more detail than is usually possible.


Sharing Stories supports families where children are placed under an early permanence arrangement (concurrency or foster-to-adopt) to let their child know more about their birth family in their own words. This helps them to make sense of their memories and heritage.

Participants will be encouraged to meet with a mediator in a safe place to share stories about the child's family, life story and any other information they would like the child to have, now or in the future.

Participants may wish to meet each other as part of this process. This is not required but is an option if all parties agree.


Sharing Stories works with parents on behalf of children in order to:

  • Support the child in coming to terms with loss and trauma in their lives
  • Help the child make sense of their memories
  • Build a positive self-identity
  • Feel secure and safe
  • Understand their heritage
  • Answer life story questions


The information that is shared may be written records of conversations, notes, letters, pictures, photographs, objects, or anything that may have a meaning to the child, now or in the future. Every family will be different and every story is unique.


A social worker can refer to Sharing Stories but after that their involvement will be limited. If extra support is needed to participate then a social worker, solicitor or other support worker may advise or participants may choose to contact Sharing Stories themselves. 


For further information for professionals about the Sharing Stories project click here

Sharing Stories Information for social workers leaflet

Sharing Stories Information for parents with additional needs leaflet

Sharing Stories Information for parents leaflet

Sharing Stories Information for EP carers leaflet

Sharing Stories Information for parents thinking about relinquishment leaflet



"We decided to become concurrent carers as we genuinely believe that this is the very best thing for the children who would be suitable for this type of placement. We know that the fewer moves a child has to go through, the better for them, so we are committed to helping a child to have the very best start in life”

"You need to be really honest and truthful with yourself about what you can cope with and be brave about it. If you can do it, it does make a huge difference for the child. You need to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself. Emotionally you may really want to, but you have to know whether you really can. Overall this has been a positive experience with a wonderful outcome”
"We were just commenting tonight on the incredible bond we all already have with Martin and that EP has made that possible. We had to work so hard at building the attachment with our adopted son Peter (9 months when he came to us),and whilst we got there eventually, it was always a source of worry. With Martin, whilst of course we have worked at the attachment too, our bond isn’t something I even question. It’s just there.”  
“Whilst we ultimately wanted to adopt a child, we were also interested in fostering.  Concurrency gave us the opportunity to do both and we thought hard about how we would feel if a child were to return to the birth family, and whether or not we could cope with it.  The outcome for us was positive as the child we had in a concurrent placement has stayed with us, meaning we had them 4 or 5 months earlier than we otherwise would have -  this enabled us to work on attachment at a critical stage which we would have missed out on if they’d gone through traditional adoption. The process was incredibly challenging but it was worth it a hundred fold.
It is impossible to know the risk and likelihood of the child going back to birth family so it’s important that concurrent carers feel able to cope with this potential eventuality and have a good support network. Whatever the outcome, you’ll be doing something wonderful and important for a child that really needs it - and possibly for the first time in their life, the adults will be taking the risk so that they don’t have to."
“We decided to become concurrent carers as we genuinely believe that this is the very best thing for the children who would be suitable for this type of placement.  We know that the fewer moves a child has to go through, the better for them, so we are committed to helping a child to have the very best start in life.”
“We are realistic about the prospect of the child not staying with us, but we still believe that it is a win-win situation for the child; they will either stay with us, having experienced no moves, or they will return to a member of the birth family, which has to be the best thing, if possible.”
"My partner and I accepted an Early Permanence Placement for a baby aged 3 months. We already had a daughter whom we had adopted at 2 and a half, who has social and emotional difficulties relating to traumatic experiences in her early life. We feel strongly that Early Permanence provides the best possible beginning to a child who cannot be with their birth parents. We found the process more stressful that anticipated. I cannot emphasise the mental stress of bonding with and attaching to a child, not knowing if they will remain with you. This stress also extends to your family members. The birth father of the baby was assessed during the first three months that he lived with us, which involved us taking the baby to some face to face contacts. This was an emotionally draining time and it was a case of accepting support from our family and friends and having faith in the future.  At the same time we were preparing our daughter and family for all possibilities and preparing ourselves to let him go. After the birth father failed his parenting assessment, the child was granted a Placement Order and we hope to adopt him formally over the next few months. We are over the moon with the outcome and cannot stress the huge benefits to the child and to ourselves, in being able to love and bond with a child at such an early age."