Placement Disruption and Disruption Meetings
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter focusses on Placement Disruption and Disruption Meetings. For further information, please see Fostering Forms and Guidance - HCC (hertfordshire.gov.uk).
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in March 2023.
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 Placement of Children Looked After Procedure and the Decision to Look After and Initial Care Planning 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 or the foster 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:
- The child/young person's social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. personal adviser or advocate;
- The child/young person's;
- The child/young person's parents;
- For children/young people in residential care, the child/young person's link worker/keyworker and, where appropriate the home manager;
- For children/young people in foster care, the foster carers and their supervising social worker.
- The child/young person's Placement Plan (recorded on the Placement Information Record on LCS);
- Any work which has been undertaken in supporting the child/young person's placement;
- If relevant: the child/young person's care plan, personal education plan and pathway plan.
Where the proposed placement has the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for the child/young person's education and training - see Education of Children Looked After Procedure.
Where the proposed placement is out of area, see Placement Outside Hertfordshire Procedure.
The chairperson should also ensure that the child/young person's, 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 children/young people are not settling into their placement, or 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 has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis.
When endings are unplanned, the welfare and well-being of children remain paramount. The needs and feelings of other children living in a foster/residential home will also be taken into account.
For children whose adoptive placement disrupts, a Disruption Meeting must take place - see Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
An "offline" manager will usually chair the meeting. In complex cases, however, consideration will be given to appointing an independent person as chair.
Those invited, or asked to contribute, should be:
- The child/young person;
- The parents;
- The child/young person's social worker and manager;
- The link worker/keyworker (for residential care) and home manager;
- The foster carer(s) and supervising social worker;
- The child/young person's independent reviewing officer;
- The child/young person's current carers;
- Other relevant staff/professionals.
The meeting will ensure the child/young person (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/young people who leave their care.
The precise agenda will depend on the child/young person's 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/young person or others in the placement;
- To contribute to the future planning for the child/young person;
- 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.
The chairperson should keep minutes, which must be circulated to all concerned.
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 Foster Carer Reviews Procedure and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers and Supported Lodgings Carers Procedure.