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6.1.5 Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings


1. Placement Planning Meetings
2. Disruption Meetings
  2.1 Preventing Placement Disruption / Supporting the Placement
  2.2 Level 1 Disruption Meeting
  2.3 Level 2 Disruption Meeting
  Appendix 1: Disruption Meeting Notes Template

1. Placement Planning Meetings

Placement Planning meetings should be convened as part of the process of identifying and placing a child - as set out in the Placements in Foster Care Procedure and the Placements in Residential Care Procedure. The first Placement Planning Meeting in relation to a placement should be held before the placement. Where this is not possible because of the urgency of the situation, it should be held in order that the Placement Plan is prepared within 5 working days of the start of the placement.

Further Placement Planning Meetings should be held at intervals agreed with the manager of the residential home/supported living or the foster/supported lodgings carers and their supervising social worker - or as required for example where there are issues to be resolved in relation to the day to day arrangements for the placement.

The social worker and home manager/foster carers supervising social worker will agree the best format and venue for the meeting and who will chair the meeting.

The people listed below should contribute to the meetings:

  1. The child’s social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. Personal Adviser, advocate or, Outreach Worker
  2. The child;
  3. The child’s parents;
  4. For children in residential care, or supported living, the child’s link worker/keyworker and, where appropriate the home manager;
  5. For children in foster care or supported lodgings, the foster carers or supported lodgings carer and their supervising social worker.
Before any meeting, the chairperson should obtain or be updated on the following, if available:
  • The child's Placement Plan (recorded on the Placement Information Record on ICS);
  • Any work which has been undertaken in supporting the child’s placement;
  • If relevant: the child’s Care Plan, Personal Education Plan and Pathway Plan.

Where the proposed placement has the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for the child's education and training - see Education of Looked After Children Procedure.

Where the proposed placement is out of area, see Out of Area Placements Procedure.

The chairperson should also ensure that the child, parent(s) and others who have been asked to contribute understand the purpose of the meeting, how it will be conducted and are given the opportunity to put their views and suggestions.

If there are concerns about the suitability of the placement, consideration should be given to the following:

  • Whether it is possible to sustain the placement until the next Looked After Review by, for example, providing additional support to the placement;
  • Bringing forward the date of the next Looked After Review;
  • Ending the placement.

2. Disruption Meetings

Consideration should always be given to convening a Disruption Meeting in relation to children whose placement is at risk, has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis.

For children whose adoptive placement disrupts, a Disruption Meeting must take place - see Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.

A disruption is any placement move that takes place that is not in the Child's Care Plan and is an unplanned end to a child's placement. This can happen for a number of reasons and a disruption meeting may not always be appropriate, for example if a child has to move because of the ill health of a carer or the carer has been subject of an allegation.

2.1 Preventing Placement Disruption / Supporting the Placement

This begins with strong effective case planning and good matching which are key to improving outcomes for Looked After Children and in particular placement stability.

However, in some situations it may become apparent that the identified placement is struggling to meet a child's needs and the placement is at risk and likely to disrupt. In this situation the child's social worker should arrange a meeting. 

Those invited, or asked to contribute, should be:

  1. The child and / or advocate (if appropriate);
  2. The parents (if appropriate);
  3. The child's social worker and manager;
  4. The link worker/keyworker (for residential care or supported living) and home manager;
  5. The foster carer(s) and supervising social worker;
  6. The child's Independent Reviewing Officer;
  7. The child's current carers;
  8. Other relevant staff/professionals e.g. ISL, school.

The purpose of this meeting is to look at whether the placement can be supported and what resources would be needed to achieve this, for example carer training, individual work with the child or respite.

If it becomes clear in the meeting that the placement is not able to continue then the meeting needs to look at a planned move for the child within realistic timescales. The meeting should also consider:

  • The circumstances of the disruption, and how this informs our understanding of meeting the needs of the child;
  • This will in turn assist in planning the child's next placement and understanding the knowledge and skills that carers may require;
  • Planning the move including possible introductions;
  • If the meeting has not included the child, agreement needs to be reached on who will tell the child, when and what they will be told.

The discussion should be recorded by the child's social worker and include any agreed actions, who is going to do what and timescales, this should be uploaded into the child's and carers framework.

2.2 Level 1 Disruption Meeting

It may not always be possible to follow the procedure set out above. The placement may be disrupting because of a particular crisis and there is no option but to move the child in an unplanned way.

In these situations it is essential to meet as soon as possible after the placement has ended. If a meeting has been held as described above (see Section 2.1, Preventing Placement Disruption / Supporting the Placement) but the placement has still disrupted in an unplanned way it may not be necessary to hold a Level 1 disruption meeting.

The child's social worker should convene a Level 1 Disruption Meeting within 7 days and this should be chaired by a Level 3 social worker or Team Manager. The key people to invite at this stage are the immediate network. Notes of the meeting should be recorded using the Disruption Meeting Notes Template (see Appendix 1: Disruption Meeting Notes Template at the bottom of this chapter) and uploaded onto the child's case file on Framework-i.

The meeting will ensure the child (depending on his or her age and level of understanding) is given the opportunity to understand the reasons for and be supported with managing the transition.

Where appropriate, foster carers must be supported to maintain links with children who leave their care.

The precise agenda will depend on the child/circumstances, but the chairperson should ensure the circumstances leading to the disruption are properly reviewed, and that all concerned are provided with opportunities to express their views freely with a view to establishing:

  • How and why the emergency/disruption occurred;
  • To learn from what happened and avoid the same thing happening again - for the child or others in the placement;
  • To contribute to the future planning for the child;
  • To identify work to be done and to ensure it is completed;
  • To ensure that appropriate notifications and other post placement arrangements have been undertaken.

2.3 Level 2 Disruption Meeting

While a Level 1 disruption meeting will be all that is required in most situations, e.g. the disruption of a short term placement, there are some situations when a Level 2 disruption meeting will be necessary. For example the disruption of a long term placement or where the child has already had a number of disruptions of short term placements.

The Level 2 disruption meeting provides a more detailed discussion, with a wider network of people. This needs to happen within 4 - 6 weeks of the date of the placement ending. The child's social worker will convene the meeting and it will be chaired by a Level 3 social worker or Team Manager.

The meeting will need to consider and understand the child's lived experience and the child's views and wishes. It will need to look at the following areas:

  • Child's life prior to being looked after;
  • Reasons for becoming looked after;
  • Child's lived experience while being looked after;
  • Matching and introduction to carers;
  • The placement and support offered to child and carers;
  • The reason for the disruption as perceived by all parties;
  • Subsequent events;
  • Future plans.

Notes of the meeting should be recorded using the Disruption Meeting Notes Template (see Appendix 1: Disruption Meeting Notes Template at the bottom of this chapter), circulated to all concerned and uploaded onto the child's case file on Framework-i.

In relation to the disruption of an external residential placement, consideration needs to be given to further use of the resource by the authority.

In relation to the disruption of a permanent foster placement, where the foster carers are in-house approved carers, consideration should be given to holding an early Foster Carer Review to consider the foster carer's approval - see Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers Procedure.

Appendix 1: Disruption Meeting Notes Template

Click here to view the Disruption Meeting Notes Template.