Placement Stability Meeting
This chapter was added to the manual in June 2014.
1. Reasons for a Placement Stability Meeting
A Placement Stability Meeting will be called when the placement of a Looked After Child is considered to be at risk of disrupting.
This could be if:
- Concern is raised through the child's or foster carer's review process;
- Where an allegation or complaint has been made;
- The child or young person is absconding or being absent from placement on a regular basis;
- Where there is relationship fragility of the placement because:
- The relationship between the child and carer gives cause for concern that the placement may break down;
- The child or young person has made it known that they want the placement to end.
- The carers have expressed concerns that they are experiencing difficulties or that they feel they can no longer care for the child or young person;
- The child or young person's social worker or other professionals raise cause for concern that the placement does not meet the needs of the child or young person.
Where it appears that the placement is unstable, every effort will be made to resolve the presenting difficulties. This will be in the form of added support to address the issues of concern. In many cases, this will be sufficient to resolve the concerns.
2. Support Opportunities Available
Examples of support opportunities available and preventative methods to promote placement stability include:
- The supervising social worker will offer support to the carer to identify the difficulties that are giving cause for concern about the stability of the placement. They will also support the carer to try to resolve the areas of difficulties;
- Initially the child's social worker will offer a consultation to the child/young person to enable them to express their views or to consider how the difficulties can be understood;
- Consultation / referral to the relevant CAMHS Service;
- Convene a network meeting to discuss possible resolution of difficulties;
- Referral to the FAST Service;
- In some cases it may be appropriate to involve the Children's Rights Director;
- Drawing up of a contract between the carer and young person in respect of the expectations of the placement. This would include a review of the Placement Planning Meeting decisions made at the commencement of the placement;
- Referral to NYAS;
- Respite Services to give the child or carer "time out".
3. Planning a Placement Stability Meeting
A Placement Stability Meeting will be held, where a more intensive approach is required. This meeting will consider the influencing factors that could result in the disruption of the placement and how this might be averted if it is in the best interests of the child.
The focus of the meeting will be to gain an understanding of the quality of the child/ carer relationship and identify other areas of difficulty impacting on the stability of the placement.
The Placement Stability Meeting should include the following as a guide:
- Positive aspects of the Placement;
- Presenting difficulties in the Placement;
- Support offered to date;
- Recommendations of further support;
- Other decisions and recommendations including by whom and by when;
- Consideration as to whether a further meeting is needed.
The Placement Stability meeting should include the child/young person and all professionals closely associated with the care of the child/young person e.g.:
- Child's social worker;
- Social work manager;
- Carers' supervising social worker;
- Fostering Team or Agency Manager;
- CAMHS / FAST if appropriate;
- Advocate for the Young person where appropriate;
- Other relevant professionals.
These meetings will be chaired by the child Social Worker's Manager.
Minutes of the meeting will be sent to attendees within 20 working days. The meeting minutes and decisions will be placed on the child's and the carer's records.
4. Outcomes of the Placement Stability Meeting
Where a resolution to avoid placement breakdown can be achieved, a plan will be formulated. This will highlight the issues and difficulties in the placement to date and set specific actions to maintain placement stability. This will include by whom and when the actions are to be completed.
Where necessary, a second Placement Stability or a follow up Network meeting will be arranged where continuing recommendations will be made about the placement.
Where it is not possible to prevent the breakdown of a placement, a Disruption Meeting will be held. See Disruption Meetings Procedure.