SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies to disruptions of placements in foster and residential care.
For disruptions of adoptive placements see Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
- When a Disruption Meeting will be Held
- Purpose of the Disruption Meeting
- Chairing and Convening the Disruption Meeting
- Agenda of the Disruption Meeting
- Minutes and Report of the Disruption Meeting
1. When a Disruption Meeting will be Held
A Disruption Meeting will be held in the following circumstances:
- Where a child was placed as part of a Permanence Plan in a foster or residential placement, and the placement breaks down;
- Where a child has had a number of short term or interim placements which have broken down, especially where three or more placements have disrupted in one year.
If a disruption occurs because of a specific event, for example the illness of the foster carer, and it is considered that there would be limited value in holding a Disruption Meeting, the child’s social worker and residential link worker/family placement social worker should prepare a report on the reasons for the placement ending and submit this to the child’s Service Manager for a decision as to whether a Disruption Meeting should be held or not.
2. Purpose of the Disruption Meeting
The purpose of the meeting is to examine various elements of the placement in order to bring some logic in the sequence of events leading to the disruption.
- Help the child by understanding his or her needs better;
- Improve practice by understanding what went wrong;
- Recognise all the positive work and good experiences for the child amongst all the difficulties;
- Support every-one and help them carry on and recover;
- Demonstrate that disruption is never the fault of one or two people or the result of a single factor; it is invariably the outcome of a whole series of connected factors.
When disruption occurs, no one person should blame themselves but equally everyone involved should accept their share of collective responsibility for what has happened.
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 the disruption, and be supported with transition - including return home and independence.
Foster carers must be supported to maintain links with children who leave their care where this is considered appropriate.
Please note: The Disruption Meeting is not a planning meeting, but is an opportunity to review the past as a preparation for the child’s future. The planning should occur within the child’s Looked After Review.
3. Chairing and Convening the Disruption Meeting
The child’s social worker will inform the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer of the need for a meeting, to discuss who should be present and make arrangements about the time and venue.
As well as the Independent Reviewing Officer, the child’s social worker and his/her unit manager, the meeting will be attended by the foster carers and their family placement social worker or key residential staff, all social workers involved in the placement, the current carers (unless this is not appropriate) and a minute taker. It may also be appropriate to invite a therapist, but not teachers or other professionals. It will rarely be appropriate to include the child or members of the birth family. The child’s social worker will always ensure that the child’s views and feelings are given to the meeting in the most appropriate way.
At least 48 hours before the meeting, the child’s social worker will arrange for the Independent Chair to have copies of:
- The BAAF Form E or other report on the child presented to the Fostering Panel (if applicable);
- The Foster Carer’s BAAF Form F or other assessment report and the Fostering Panel minutes recommending approval of the carers (if applicable);
- Minutes of Looked After Reviews held since the placement;
- Any other documents that the social worker considers would be helpful.
4. Agenda of the Disruption Meeting
The meeting should follow a set agenda as follows:
- Purpose of meeting - to identify the positives and learning points for the child/children and for general practice;
- Circumstances of the child’s reception into care;
- Pattern of child’s life in care;
- Decision to seek the placement;
- Assessment and preparation of the child;
- Assessment and preparation of the carers and the Panel recommendation of their suitability (if applicable);
- Matching and Panel recommendation;
- The introductory period;
- The Placement;
- Events since the placement ended;
- The child’s current priority needs.
5. Minutes and Report of the Disruption Meeting
The minutes of the meeting will be prepared within 10 working days of the meeting and copies will be sent to all participants.
The minutes will be written using the same headings as the agenda and should include key information to inform future planning for the child.
The Independent Chair will also produce a full report of the Disruption Meeting which will be distributed to all participants.