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Adoption and Fostering Disruptions Meetings - Responding to Unplanned Placement Endings


  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Convening an Adoption or Fostering Disruptions Meeting
  4. Monitoring and Review
  5. Outcome

    Appendix A: Social Workers Report for Disruptions Meetings

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy/procedure is to address disruptions (any move that takes place that is not in the child's Permanence Plan, e.g. an unplanned move or ending of a permanent placement) in long term fostering and adoptive placements.

Whilst previous good practice might have involved holding a meeting after a placement has broken down, this policy/ procedure incorporates a formal process to look at the sequence of events and to learn from placements which end in an unplanned way.

The right to family life is a fundamental right for all children. In exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible for children to live with their own families, children and young people should have the opportunity to live in an environment that enables them to develop strong attachments lasting into adulthood. Therefore, it must be the primary objective of all staff working with a child in care to ensure that the child is appropriately placed and supported. Consequently, regardless of placement type, as corporate parent we must do everything possible to work in a spirit of cooperation across Children's Services and wider partnership to prevent placement breakdown which results in multiple placements and poor outcomes for children. (Taken from Placement Support Meeting Guiding Principles).

2. Scope

In relation to foster placements this policy/procedure applies whenever there is an unplanned ending to a long term foster placement.

Unplanned will also include those placements where the Foster Carers have given notice.

In relation to adoption placements this policy/procedure applies for the duration of the adopted child's childhood.

3. Convening an Adoption or Fostering Disruptions Meeting

The meeting will be chaired by a Team Manager (who has no case management responsibility for the Child or Carer) from the Children's Services management team. This meeting should be minuted by a member of the Business Support Service.

When will a meeting be convened

  • For children who are placed for adoption, within 20 working days;
  • For children who are fostered, within 10 working days.

What is the purpose and format

In order to establish a sufficient understanding of the factors that have led to the placement breakdown, consideration will be given to:

  • Child's life before being looked after;
  • Reception into care;
  • The child's life within the 'looked after' system;
  • Selection and matching process of adopters/foster carers;
  • Introductions to the adopters/foster carers;
  • The placement, to include positive elements;
  • Disruptions and subsequent events for all involved;
  • Future plans;
  • Any learning for the Local Authority to improve services for Children.

What preparation is required

The social worker will provide a brief report - see Appendix A: Social Workers Report for Disruptions Meetings (see Documents Library).

Who will attend

Core participants

  • Chairperson;
  • Social Worker for Child;
  • Social Worker for Foster Carer/ Adopter;
  • Advocate for Child (if this is appropriate);
  • ETCiC.

Where appropriate the following participants will be considered

  • The Foster Carers/ Adopters;
  • The Child;
  • The Child's current carers;
  • The Child's birth parents;
  • Fostering Manager;
  • Adoption Manager;
  • IRO for the Child;
  • Other professionals such as YOS, CAMHS, FAST, health professionals.

What is the role of the Chairperson

The Chairperson will:

  • Ensure a 'no blame' approach is taken;
  • Identify and summarise the key contributory factors to the disruption;
  • Ensure that an action plan is developed for the child;
  • Ensure minutes and key summary is circulated within 5 working days;
  • Ensure agreement on who will take the following actions after the meeting:
    • Send summary of key points to Adoption or Fostering panel;
    • Attach minutes to Carers file;
    • Attach minutes to Child's file;
    • Send minutes to IRO and ART duty.

4. Monitoring and Review

The policy will be reviewed within 1 year by the Head of Service.

5. Outcome

  • The action plan will support the child and will provide 'wrap around' support;
  • A clear view and shared understanding are established of the child's needs;
  • In circumstances where a placement has broken down, the analysis of the child's needs inform the planning for subsequent placement;
  • Improved placement stability targets are achieved.

Appendix A: Social Workers Report for Disruptions Meetings

Click here to view Appendix A: Social Workers Report for Disruptions Meetings (see Documents Library).