- Application and Scope
- Disruption Meeting - Definition and Purpose
- Arrangements for Chairing Disruption Meetings
- Participation in Disruption Meetings
- Disruption Meeting Agenda
- Distribution of Minutes
- Management Review
1. Application and Scope
In cases where there is concern for the stability of a long term placement, this should be identified and addressed at an early stage by the relevant professionals with a Placement Support Meeting convened to appraise the issues undermining the placement stability and put in place actions to maintain the placement. (See Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure).
A Disruption Meeting must be convened for a child whose long term fostering or residential placement ends abruptly or on an unplanned basis. This should be informed by the long term care plan for the child that should be up to date, on the child's file and underpinned by care planning process as agreed through court, local authority care planning meetings and ratified through the LAC Review by the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). For children in long term placements since 2013, a long term match should have entailed an assessment by the child's Social Worker and the Fostering Social Worker as ratified through the Fostering Panel. This process may not have taken place for children placed before that date.
A Disruption Meeting should consider the needs of the child and help the child and carers to move on while also informing future planning, particularly with a view to securing permanency for the child by preventing future placement breakdowns. If a Disruption Meeting is not requested and does not take place following a placement breakdown, the Team Manager from the Social Work Team must record the reasons this is not required on the child's cases file. IROs should also consider the need for a Disruption Meeting via the LAC Review process and make recommendations for this meeting to take place or record the reasons this is not required.
For children whose pre adoptive placements disrupts, a Disruption Meeting should take place. Please refer to Disruption of Adoptive Placements Procedure.
The need to hold a Disruption Meeting must not delay putting in place alternative arrangements for meeting a child's needs and any immediate action required to remedy any problems arising from a disruption, e.g. placement supports for the new placement and addressing health and education needs.
A Disruption Meeting should be organised within four weeks of the placement ending and should take place within 5 and 10 weeks after the placement has ended as per CoramBAAF (Coram British Association of Adoption and Fostering) guidance.
2. Disruption Meeting - Definition and Purpose
The purpose of a Disruption Meeting is to focus on the best interests of children as previously placed or for future placements by:
- Identifying significant factors leading to the disruption;
- Enabling participants to share feelings and information about the placement and disruption;
- Garnering information about the child to inform future care planning with a view to enhancing future placement stability;
- Considering the quality of the preparation and support offered to carers, family and child;
- Reviewing data from disruption meetings to inform future care planning for children Looked After across Children's Social Care.
3. Arrangements for Chairing Disruption Meetings
The responsibility for identifying cases where a Disruption meeting should be held rests with one, or more, of the following:
- The Child's Social Worker /Team Manager from the Team in which the child is allocated in all cases;
- Fostering Social Worker / Team Manager (for all local authority fostering placements);
- Fostering Social Worker from the Independent Fostering Agency (if an independent provider placement);
- Residential Team Manager, local authority and independent provider, for all residential placements;
- Child's Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) in all cases;
- Senior / Service Manager from within Children's Social Care and Safeguarding, Quality and Review Service in all cases.
Cases should then be referred through to the Corporate Independent Reviewing Officer with the organisation and chairing of Disruption Meetings is the responsibility of the Safeguarding, Quality and Review Service.
The meeting will be chaired by the Corporate Independent Reviewing Officer; or nominated deputy within the Service in their absence. The Chair will then e-mail those professionals identified above to confirm attendees/venue/date. The Child's Social Worker Team Manager will arrange a minute taker; preferably someone from the Admin Team in the Looked After Children's Service.
4. Participation in Disruption Meetings
The meetings should include participation and attendance at the meeting (bold italics) from the following:
- Child's IRO – all cases;
- Child's Social Worker / Team Manager from the designated Child Care Team – all cases;
- Foster Carer from the placement that has disrupted – Fostering cases;
- Supervising Social Worker/ Team Manager – Fostering cases;
- Residential Team Manager – residential cases;
- Representative from School / Pre School;
- Virtual School (if school age);
- LAC Nurse / Health representative (if significant health issues);
- Views from Child and Parents (or those exercising parental responsibility) with attendance encouraged as appropriate.
Desirable (if involved with the child)
- An Independent Visitor, or Advocate.
If anyone, who is thought to have an important contribution, cannot make that date they should send written notes or speak to the Chair before the meeting to convey their views.
5. Disruption Meeting Agenda
Disruption Meetings provide an opportunity to explore and understand the reasons for a placement breakdown and provide actions to improve future placements of the child and secure better longer term planning.
The areas to be covered in the meeting, and template for the meeting minutes, are as follows:
Child's history, personal details and current circumstances
- Date of birth / Ethnicity;
- Legal Status and Care Plan;
- Parent's details and how they are exercising parental responsibility;
- Sibling's details and placements;
- Other Agency involvement;
- Number and type of care settings the child has experienced;
- Information about the child's response to the move, including behaviour and relationships in the placements;
- The child's progress at school;
- The child's health;
- Number of Social Workers the child has been allocated and reasons for changes;
- Details of any specialist assessments undertaken on the child;
- Details of ongoing specialist support;
- Contact arrangements between the child and birth family.
The recruitment, assessment and selection of the connected person(s)/foster carers/residential home
- Who assessed the Foster Carers or how was the residential placement assessed?
- Did any significant issues arise during the assessment or through Fostering Panel?
- What matching process occurred for the placement in line with the child's care plan?
- How many placements has this family had?
- What issues were raised at Panel?
Introduction and placement of the child
- What is the family / residential placement structure and how many children are in placement?
- What matching process occurred for the placement in line with the child's care plan?
- What introduction process took place prior to the child being placed?
- How was the child prepared for the move?
- What issues arose during the introductions?
- Who moved the child into the placement?
- How did the child react to the move?
- When did it become apparent that difficulties were emerging and what were they?
- What support was put in place to address the problems and did Placement Support meeting (s) take place?
- How was the decision made to move the child?
- How has the child reacted to the disruption?
- How have the carers reacted to the disruption?
- What are the learning points from the disruption to strengthen future placement stability and prevent breakdown?
- Where is the child now?
- How is the child in placement?
- What support is being given to the child?
- Are the carers still in touch with the child?
- What support are the carers receiving?
- Have the birth family been informed about the disruption. If not, why not and is there a plan to inform them;
- What is the proposed care plan for the child now?
- All actions from the meeting should embrace SMART planning (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time banded);
- All actions should have a nominated owner who is responsible for ensuring this action is completed;
- The relevant Service Manager will be responsible for oversight of the key actions.
6. Distribution of Minutes
Once the Chair has added the Introduction and Summary and checked the minutes they will distribute to all those who were invited to the meeting. Minutes must be sent out with the caveat that any omissions, factual inaccuracies or misrepresentation of individual / agency reviews should be reported to the chair within 7 working days of receipt.
Minutes must always be taken with a copy recorded on the child's case record and, if relevant, the foster carer's file and sent to participants of the meeting and the following:
- Service Manager Safeguarding, Quality and Review (LAC);
- Service Manager for Fostering/Adoption (LAC);
- Service Manager for the relevant Social Work Team;
- Commissioning Manager where the placement is independent provider.
The Corporate IRO must keep a record of all disruptions including statistics of the numbers of disruptions and meetings held.
7. Management Review
If there are significant concerns relating to the placement breakdown the following should take place:
- For local authority foster placements, consideration should always be given to an urgent Fostering Review, by the Corporate IRO, with a recommendation for presentation to the Fostering Panel;
- For local authority residential homes, minutes of the disruption meetings should be made available to the Regulation 44 Visitor;
- For independent providers – fostering and residential - minutes and actions of the disruption meetings should be overseen by the Commissioning Manager with a view to the feasibility of future placements.
An annual audit of disrupted placements (where a Placement Disruption Meeting has been held) should be undertaken by the Corporate IRO and will be included in the Annual Report for the IRO Service that will be in the public domain via the Blackpool Council website.
Quarterly reports will be provided to the Children's Management Meeting by the Service Manager responsible for the Corporate IRO. This will include the following:
- Number of long term placements ended with a record of the Disruption Meetings taking place;
- Number of the Disruption Meetings not taking place and the reasons not convened;
- Participation and attendance of personnel – see Section 4, Participation in Disruption Meetings.
- Key themes emerging to include the use of Placement Support Meetings
In turn these reports will contribute to the Quality Service Framework across Children's Social Care to instigate in-depth audits on highlighted cases.