AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in January 2015 and clarification added to Section 4, Planning the Meeting regarding Adoption Placements.
When a child's Care Plan is permanence - either a long-term foster placement, kinship placement or adoption and the placement has broken down - a Placement Disruption Meeting should be held.
Prior to a child being matched and placed in an alternative family a great deal of work will have been done to ensure the placement is as successful as possible. At a minimum - in a foster care/kinship placement it will be expected that the child will be staying with the family until 18 years of age. In an adoptive placement the family will commit themselves forever to the child. Such placement disruptions are fairly unusual and should therefore be viewed as seriously as when the child was separated from it's birth family.
All attempts to sustain the placement should be fully explored before the Placement Disruption Meeting is requested. See Placement Stability Meetings Procedure.
A Placement Disruption Meeting is a stand-alone process. It is not the same as a Placement Planning Meeting and should not be used as such. See Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure.
The disruption meeting is essentially to establish why the placement disrupted, and what lessons can be learned about meeting a child's future needs. It is not to apportion blame.
The meetings are lengthy and half a day should be set aside to hold them.
2. Purpose of the Meeting
- Identify significant factors leading to the disruption;
- To hear from the child and family their reasons/understanding about why the placement has disrupted;
- Enable participants to share feelings and information about the placement and disruption;
- Gain information about the child to inform future planning;
- Look at the quality of preparation, matching and support offered to the family and child;
- Highlight areas for development in practice;
- To enable the team, with the information gathered, to be able to formulate an action plan for the child.
3. Timing for the Meeting
As a guide, the meeting should be held no later than 12 weeks following the disruption. Feelings/emotions may be running high. The timescale should allow for these feelings to subside but to be recent enough to build on the impetus.
4. Planning the Meeting
If the placement has disrupted or is going to disrupt, the Manager should discuss holding a Placement Disruption Meeting with the Head of Corporate Parenting Service, Social Worker, the appropriate Fostering or Adoption Manager and the Independent Reviewing Officer in the case of a fostering placement.For an adoption placement it will usually be appropriate to appoint an independent person to chair the meeting, ensuring that the person appointed has the correct level of skills and knowledge.
The Manager/Social Worker will contact the Head of Quality Assurance Service to request an Independent Reviewing Officer (not involved with the case) to chair the meeting.
The relevant Manager of the Fostering or Adoption Team should inform the Chair of the relevant adoption/fostering panel that the placement has disrupted.
5. Arranging the Meeting
Once a Chair has been identified they will have a discussion with the appropriate worker and Manager to agree attendees/venue/date. The Team Administrator will arrange a minute taker and the Conference & Review Service will send out the invitations for the meeting on the advice of the Manager and include a copy of the agenda. This will enable attendees to prepare for the meeting and bring relevant information.
- Independent Chair;
- Child's Social Worker;
- Relevant Manager for Looked After child;
- Relevant Fostering or Adoption Manager;
- Fostering or Adoption Team Social Worker;
- If an Independent Fostering / Adoption Agency placement, relevant Social Worker; and
- Manager from the organisation.
- Child (if appropriate);
- Current carers;
- Historical carers (if appropriate);
- Relevant professionals who know the child;
- Parents (if appropriate).
7. Meeting Agenda
Child's life prior to reception into care
- Date and place of birth;
- Birth Parent's details and where they are now;
- Permanent Carers' details;
- Sibling's details and where they are now;
- Involvement of Children's Social Care or other agencies.
Reception into care
- Reasons for accommodation/removal of the child;
- What the plan was for the child;
- What is the child's legal status.
Child's life in care
- Number of care settings the child has had;
- The care plan for the child in each setting;
- Information about the child's response to any move, including behaviour and relationships in the placements;
- The child's progress at school;
- The child's health;
- How many Social Workers the child has had;
- Details of any specialist assessments the child has had;
- Details of ongoing specialist support;
- Contact arrangements between the child and birth family.
The recruitment, assessment and selection of the kinship/foster carers/adopters
- Who assessed the adopters/carers;
- Did any significant factors arise during the assessment;
- Description of family structure;
- How and why was the family selected for the child;
- Is this the family's first placement;
- Were any significant factors raised at Panel;
- What post placement support was agreed.
Introduction and placement of the child
- Describe the introduction plan;
- How was the child prepared for the move;
- Did the child have a life story book/treasure box to take with them;
- Did any factors arise during the introductions;
- Who moved the child into the placement;
- How did the child react to the move;
- How did the carers/adopters react to the move;
- When did it become apparent that difficulties were emerging;
- What were the difficulties;
- What support was put in place to address the difficulties;
- How was the decision made to move the child;
- What is the impact of the disruption on the child;
- What is the impact of the disruption on the carers/adopters.
- Where is the child now;
- How is the child in placement;
- What support is being given to the child;
- Are the carers/adopters still in touch with the child;
- What support are the carers/adopters receiving;
- Have the birth family been informed about the disruption. If not, is there a plan to inform them;
- What is the proposed plan for the child now.
8. Distribution of Minutes
Minutes of the Meeting will be sent to invitees. Copies will also be sent to the Head of Corporate Parenting Service, Head of Quality Assurance, and Chair of the Fostering/Adoption Panel. Minutes will be sent within 20 working days of the meeting and a copy of the minutes will also be put on the child and carer/adopter's files.
The child's social worker and the prospective adopters' social worker should attend the Adoption Panel to present a report from the Disruption Meeting. When this is considered, the Panel should also receive copies of the Panel minutes recommending the adoption plan for the child, the prospective adopters' approval and the placement with the particular prospective adopters, to enable learning points to be shared.
The child's social worker should contact the Panel Administrator to book a date for the Panel to consider the matter and the relevant documents should be sent to the Panel Administrator 10 working days before the Panel meeting.
Where an Adoption Plan is terminated before the adoptive placement takes place (i.e. during introductions), the adoption social worker for an in-house approved family, or the child's social worker in the case of an inter agency placement, will prepare a report for the Adoption Panel. The report must outline the reasons for the breakdown; In all such cases, the Adoption Panel may consider whether the plan for the child should be reviewed and/or whether the prospective adopters' approval should be reconsidered, and these issues may need to be further investigated and reports be presented to a subsequent meeting.
10. Other Matters
An annual audit of disrupted placements should be undertaken by an Officer in the Quality Assurance Service.