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6.2.20 Guidance for Placement Disruption Meetings

This chapter was introduced in July 2012.


Contents

  1. Why are Disruption Meetings Necessary?
  2. Disruption Meetings
  3. Arranging a Disruption Meeting
  4. Participants
  5. Essential Information to be provided to the Chair of the Disruption Meeting
  6. Format of the Meeting
  7. Agenda
  8. Record of the Meeting

    Appendix A: Disruption Meeting Checklist

    Appendix B: Agenda for Disruption Meetings


1. Why are Disruption Meetings Necessary?

Placements breakdown through a combination of several factors. The objective of a Disruption Meeting is to look at the sequence of events and to learn from the experience.

All participants need to know that the process is not an exercise in apportioning blame but a way of identifying why the happened and to avoid further disruptions in the future.

A Disruption Meeting will examine whether the placement was appropriate.

A Disruption Meeting also examines whether appropriate resources were provided to enable the placement to continue.

It offers the different agencies involved with the child/young person a chance to talk through the reasons for the disruption.

A Disruption Meeting could identify trends and patterns that would contribute to a future Care Plan for the specific child or children as well as more general learning points for the agency/agencies concerned.


2. Disruption Meetings

In this instance the term 'disruption' refers to a placement that has ended in an unplanned manner.

A Disruption Meeting should be considered in the following circumstances:

  • When a child experiences two unplanned placement endings in a 12 month period;
  • When foster carer/s experience two unplanned placement endings in a 12 month period;
  • When a foster carer ends the placement without notice.

A Disruption Meeting must be convened in the following circumstances:

  • When a permanent placement, identified as part of a Care Plan disrupts (fostering or adoption);
  • When a placement of over twelve months duration ends in a unplanned way;
  • When a permanent placement, identified as part of a Care Plan disrupts (fostering or adoption). This is irrespective of whether notice to end placement has been given.
Decisions about placements for children and/or carers should not be delayed to await outcome of Disruption Meetings. Any concerns about foster carers when placement ends need to be addressed by Fostering Service at the time. The purpose of a Disruption Meeting is to look at the sequence of events and to learn from the experience. Should any concerns about foster carers emerge during a Disruption Meeting these will need to be followed up by Fostering Service. Consideration will also need to be given to a brought forward Foster Carer Review in relation to concerns about carers.


3. Arranging a Disruption Meeting

A disruption meeting should usually be held within 4 - 6 weeks of the placement disruption. However it is important to strike a balance between the meeting taking place too soon after the disruption, when participants may be defensive, or too long after the disruption, when participants may be less open to considering issues or have rationalised events. N.B. The above timescale may occasionally need to be adjusted to enable key participants to attend.

Children's Social Care will make its own arrangements regarding who will arrange the Disruption Meeting, but this would usually be the child's social worker in conjunction with the identified chairperson/facilitator.

The child's Social Worker should arrange to have invitations sent to the key participants at the meeting (See Appendix A: Suggested checklist to be followed when arranging a Disruption Meeting).


4. Participants

Consideration needs to be given to the number of active participants and whether they need to attend throughout the meeting. The emotive nature of disruption meetings does however mean that it can be unhelpful for a number of people to move in and out of the meeting, particularly if the carers involved in the disruption are present. Attendance options should be discussed with the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) / Chair.

Following is a list of suggested relevant people to attend the Disruption Meeting:

  • IRO (Chair);
  • Minute taker;
  • Foster carers or adopters involved in the disruption;
  • Previous foster carers;
  • Present foster carers;
  • Link worker of previous carers;
  • Fostering or Adoption Agency Representative;
  • School - current and previous, especially the school attended during the disrupted placement;
  • School Nurse/Health Visitor;
  • All agencies involved with the child/young person;
  • Social Worker;
  • Team Manager.

If there are not sufficient key participants available to attend the disruption meeting the Chair/IRO should decide whether the meeting should be rearranged.

It may be appropriate to invite the child/young person for part of the meeting. Birth parents may also be invited if it is felt that they could make a valid contribution. This must first be discussed and agreed with the IRO/Chair.

If a young person does not attend agreement must be reached about who is the most appropriate person to elicit the child's views (e.g. Social Worker, Advocate etc.).

This should cover the following:

  • What did the child/young person think was best about the placement?
  • What did the child/young person like least about the placement?
  • How did the child/young person feel about leaving the placement?
  • What is the child/young person's understanding of why they had to leave the placement?
  • What does the child/young person miss about the placement?


5. Essential Information to be provided to the Chair of the Disruption Meeting

Paperwork that should be provided for the Disruption Meeting includes:

  • Last LAC Review Documentation, including the Care Plan;
  • Placement Plan;
  • Last Foster Carer Review documentation;
  • Any previous Disruption Meeting Minutes, that either the child or the carer has experienced;
  • Statutory Assessment and any other relevant assessments;
  • Child's Chronology from birth;
  • Chronology of events leading up to the disruption and the support that was provided;
  • Contract (if other agency placement);
  • Child's Permanence Report;
  • Form F/ Prospective Adopter's Report;
  • Matching Report/ Adoption Placement Report/ Adoption Placement Plan.

The Social Worker will be responsible for providing the child's information and the Adoption or Fostering Officer will be responsible for providing information about the adoptive/foster carer(s).

The written information should be provided to the Chair five working days before Disruption Meeting.


6. Format of the Meeting

The format of the meeting will follow the CoramBAAF guidelines:

  • Child's life prior to entering the care system;
  • Reason for care episode;
  • Selection process of the carers/placement;
  • Introduction process to the carers;
  • The recruitment, training and preparation of the carers;
  • The consideration of the carer(s) by the Adoption or Fostering Panel;
  • Care Planning process (including outcomes of Core and other assessments);
  • Chronology of events leading to the disruption;
  • Why the placement does not meet the child/young person's needs;
  • What could have made the placement work?
  • Were the LAC Reviewing and Foster Carer Reviewing processes robust?
  • Identification of disruptive patterns;
  • Disruption and subsequent events;
  • Future Care Planning;
  • Learning points;
  • Conclusion and Recommendation.


7. Agenda

See Appendix B: Suggested Agenda to be used at Disruption Meetings.


8. Record of the Meeting

The record of the meeting will be distributed to all parties within 28 days of the meeting. Individual authorities will make their own arrangements about who will be responsible for distributing the record.

Any feedback or comments regarding the Record of the Disruption Meeting should be returned to the Chair/IRO within 14 days of receipt.

The Chair/IRO will ensure the Final Record of Disruption Meeting is distributed to all parties.

Each Local Authority will collate their own statistics appropriate to their needs.

A copy of the record of the meeting is to be presented to Newcastle's Adoption/Fostering Panel.


Appendix A: Disruption Meeting Checklist

Click here to view Appendix A: Disruption Meeting Checklist


Appendix B: Agenda for Disruption Meetings

  • Introductions;
  • Apologies;
  • Information sharing;
  • Confidentiality and equal opportunities;
  • How the process will be recorded;
  • What the process will be;
  • Child's life prior to entering the care system;
  • Reason for care episode;
  • Selection process of the carers/placement;
  • Introduction process to the carers;
  • The recruitment and preparation of the carers;
  • The consideration of the carer(s) by the Fostering Panel;
  • Care Planning process (including outcomes of Core and other assessments);
  • Chronology of events leading to the disruption;
  • Why the placement does not meet the child/young person's needs;
  • What could have made the placement work?
  • Was the LA Reviewing and Foster Carer Reviewing process robust?
  • Identification of disruptive patterns;
  • Disruption and subsequent events;
  • Future Care Planning;
  • Learning points;
  • Conclusion and Recommendation.

End