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5.1.7 Placement Support Meetings


This chapter was fully revised in September 2017 and should be re-read in full. A new Appendix 1: Placement Support Meeting Flowchart was also added.


  1. Guiding Principles
  2. Purpose of a Placement Support Meeting
  3. Convening a Placement Support Meeting
  4. Outcomes of a Placement Support Meeting

    Appendix 1: Placement Support Meeting Flowchart

1. Guiding Principles

The primary objective of all staff working with a child looked after (CLA) is to ensure that the child is appropriately placed and supported in order to maximise stability and to develop strong attachments lasting into adult life.

Placement stability is critical to the emotional wellbeing and overall outcomes of children who are in our care. Educational progress will be impaired for CLA with multiple moves and exclusions from education is often a key factor in placement instability.

Regardless of placement type, as corporate parents we must do everything possible to work together to ensure placement stability and minimise the risk of multiple placement moves.

There are often warning signs before a placement reaches the point at which a breakdown may occur. The Placement Support Meeting (PSM) is a means to respond to these warning signs, by bringing together the foster carer and all other professionals involved to identify the right support to the placement.

It is essential that all placements have the required level of support at the outset, to mitigate against unplanned placement moves.

The Placement Planning Meeting, with delegated authority, must be held at the outset of the placement to consider the support needs of the foster carer. The Initial Support Plan must be completed by those present at the Placement Planning Meeting. This can be subsequently reviewed through a placement Support Meeting.

Carers must be referred to Placement Stability Panel at the earliest opportunity (see Placement Stability Guidance Note in the Staff Access Library).

2. Purpose of a Placement Support Meeting

The Placement Support Meeting has a key role to play in ensuring that resources are identified and explored in order to develop creative responses to maintain placement stability.

The support may come from a range of services and be provided directly to the child, the carers or both.

Everybody has equal responsibility - a foster carer, children’s social worker or a supervising social worker can request a Placement Support Meeting.

3. Convening a Placement Support Meeting

A Placement Support Meeting should be convened by the Fostering Supervising Social Worker (or the child’s Social Worker if an in agency placement) at the earliest warning signs of placement instability.

For an in house placement, the Fostering Team Manager should chair this meeting. The Child’s Social Worker (CSW), Team Manager and other professionals including the designated teacher should attend. IRO should be invited and if not available to attend should be sent a copy of the minutes and action plan.

This meeting is mandatory and should be given priority.

Where a placement is clearly at risk of imminent breakdown, a meeting must be held within 1 working day, with additional home visits and telephone consultation offering immediate assistance.

A PSM should be held as soon as possible and no later than five working days. The urgency should always be dictated by the fragility of the placement.

The Service Manager (Fostering), Family Safeguarding and CLA Service Managers will be alerted to all cases where a Placement Support Meeting is being held, to provide additional monitoring and oversight of placement instability.

The agenda for the PSM should include the following:

  • Purpose of the Meeting;
  • Analysis/identification of presenting problems, triggers;
  • Voice of the Child;
  • Views of CSW, SSW and other Professionals;
  • Outcomes of recent (termly) PEP and results of SDQ’s;
  • Referral to CAMHS/ADASH for consultation or other forms of counselling;
  • Direct support for the carers/ child e.g. dedicated worker to engage the child in direct work, referral to ARC for additional support, etc.
  • Respite and or day-care for the child to support the carers;
  • Practical support for the carers- help with cleaning, transport ( where applicable);
  • Additional support from within fostering for the carers - buddies, “peer crisis support”, support groups (e.g. Carer’s Support Line);
  • Additional training needs of carers (e.g. gaps in learning, bespoke training);
  • Referral to HARP for placement stability consultation;
  • The child/young person looked after should be invited to attend all or part of the meeting as appropriate. Any decision to hold a placement support meeting without the child present must be made between the children’s social work team, and the fostering service or fostering agency. All children/young people looked after must be made aware of support plans to address issues arising in the placement.

Invitations must go to any CS&SS staff and partner agencies believed to be relevant to contributing to knowledge around an appropriate support package for a child.

These may include, dependent on age, existing needs and circumstances of the child:

  • Fostering and Residential Managers;
  • CLA, Family Safeguarding;
  • Targeted Youth Support Service;
  • Advisory Teacher from Virtual School;
  • CAMHS;
  • Independence Support Service;
  • Youth Offending Team;
  • Placement Service;
  • Foster carer(s).

This list is not exhaustive.

4. Outcomes of a Placement Support Meeting

The outcome of the meeting is to establish a clear and effective Placement Support Plan, which offers targeted support. This should be regularly monitored and subject to review at subsequent PSM or CLA reviews.

The placement support plan will be placed on the child’s record. This document will also be scanned onto the foster carer file with the date of review.

Service Managers (Fostering, Family Safeguarding, and CLA as applicable) will be made aware of placement stability issues to ensure that they have awareness of cases of instability that may require further intervention.

Service Managers (Brokerage, Fostering, CLA) will review on a monthly basis.

All professionals identified in the support plan will be responsible for agreed actions. The Fostering Supervising Social Worker should monitor actions agreed and escalate outstanding matters to Fostering Team Manager. CLA an Fostering Manager need to work together to ensure support plan is progressed, If there continues to be delay, escalation to Fostering, Family Safeguarding and CLA Service Managers to be actioned. In most circumstances, a date will be set where the Placement Support Plan is reviewed.

Any support that requires significant extra resources will need to be approved by HARP (see Authorisation for a Child to be Looked After and Funding Agreements outside HARP Procedure).

The Fostering Supervising Social Worker is responsible for minute taking and should use the Placement Support meeting template on LCS. Fostering Business Support will then ensure that these minutes are uploaded onto the carers file and onto the managers shared drive.

If the placement is in the Independent Sector, the CLA Social Worker is responsible for minute taking and should use the Placement Support meeting Template on LCS.

The child’s social work is responsible for ensuring that the Placement Support Meeting record is on the child's LCS Record.

Appendix 1: Placement Support Meeting Flowchart

Click here to view Appendix 1: Placement Support Meeting Flowchart.