This chapter was reviewed and amended by Bexley in April 2017 to confirm that a Disruption Meeting should be convened if the placement is at risk of breaking down. The meeting should be chaired by the fostering manager if the child is placed in a Bexley placement, or otherwise the IRO or Placement Manager.
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 palcement.
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's social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. Personal Adviser or advocate;
- The child;
- The child's parents;
- For children in residential care, the child's link worker/keyworker and, where appropriate the home manager;
- For children in foster care, the foster carers and their supervising social worker.
- 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
A Disruption Meeting should be convened whenever it is raised that a child’s placement is at risk of breaking down or when a foster carer, or placement provider gives notice on a placement of a child in their care unexpectedly.
The chair of these meeting should be the fostering manager for the Local Authority if the child is placed with a Bexley foster carer or the placement manager for the Local Authority or the IRO for the child.
Where appropriate, foster carers must be supported to maintain links with children who leave their care.
For children whose adoptive placement disrupts, a Disruption Meeting must take place - see Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
A non-line 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;
- The parents;
- The child'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's Independent Reviewing Officer;
- The child's current carers;
- Other relevant staff/professionals.
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.
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.
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 Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers Procedure.