Placement Planning, Placement Support and Disruption Meetings
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 for residential care see the Placements Manual for Commissioned Placements. 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 Line Manager will agree the best format and venue for the meeting and
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.
Before any meeting, the chairperson should obtain or be updated on the following, if available:
- 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 Children with a Social Worker, Looked After and Previously 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 children 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. Placement Support Meetings
Placements ending in an unplanned way nearly always leave all concerned feeling bad. Your Supervising Social Worker will want to work with you to make sure that everything is done to support you with children and young people living with you and to manage difficulties. When you are struggling, use your support mechanisms to help you to find a way forward.
If you do, you should ask your Supervising Social Worker to arrange a fostering support meeting.
This should be used for all foster placements including Regulation 24 and Connected Person.
The meeting will be chaired by the Fostering Team Manager or Principal Practitioner and a record made of what will be said and sent to all those that attend.
Your Supervising Social Worker will speak to you before the meeting to identify the difficulties and will make notes which will help the meeting.
If your Supervising Social Worker has any concerns about your care of the child/ren, then they will talk to you about this before the meeting, so that nothing is a surprise.
You will be provided with any information and what the Supervising Social Worker is proposing for the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting is to:
- Talk about your concerns and anyone else's;
- Consider any assessments;
- Assess if child's needs in the Care Plan are being met and what if anything is still outstanding;
- Identify what additional support is required and who will provide the support;
- Consider extra visits by your Supervising Social Worker or the child's Social Worker;
- Consider support groups or mentor foster carers;
- Financial and practical support may be needed. The Local Authority will work towards meeting requests in a fair and consistent way. If you are not happy it will go firstly to the Service Manager and then the Complaints procedure may be used particularly where there is no final agreement on financial support.
A fostering support plan should be drawn up detailing actions to be taken with clear responsibilities and timescales identified.
The meeting may recommend a further assessment being carried out. The fostering support meeting should meet again following the reassessment.The Fostering Support Plan should be subject to regular review and updated by your Supervising Social Worker.
3. 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 "off 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.
Where appropriate, foster carers must be supported to maintain links with children who leave their care.
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.