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5.4 Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings


  1. Placement Planning Meetings
  2. Disruption Meetings

1. Placement Planning Meetings

1.1 Placement Planning meetings must be convened as part of the process of identifying and placing a child - as set out in the Placement in Residential Care Procedure. The first Placement Planning Meeting in relation to a placement must 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.
1.2 Further Placement Planning Meetings must 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.
1.3 The social worker and home manager/foster carer’s supervising social worker will agree the best format and venue for the meeting and who will chair the meeting.

The people listed below must contribute to the meetings:

  • The child’s social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. advocate;
  • The child;
  • The child’s parents;
  • For children in residential care, the child’s link worker and, where appropriate the home manager;
  • For children in foster care, the foster carers and their supervising social worker.

Before any meeting, the chairperson must obtain or be updated on the following, if available:

1.6 The chairperson must 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 must 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

2.1 Consideration must always be given to convening a Disruption Meeting in relation to children whose placement has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis where the placement was long term or where the child was in a specialist placement.
2.2 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, must be:

  • The child;
  • The parents;
  • The child's social worker and manager;
  • The link worker (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.
2.4 The meeting will ensure the child (depending on his or her age and level of understanding) is given the opportunity to understand and come to terms with the disruption.

The precise agenda will depend on the child/circumstances, but the chairperson must 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.
2.6 The chairperson must keep minutes, which must be circulated to all concerned.
2.7 In relation to the disruption of an external residential placement, consideration needs to be given to further use of the resource by the Department.
2.8 In relation to the disruption of a permanent foster placement, where the foster carers are in-house approved carers, consideration must be given to holding an early Foster Carer Review to consider the foster carer's approval.