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6.2.7 Disruption of Adoptive Placements


This chapter applies to disruptions of adoptive placements, which occur prior to an Adoption Order having been made. Where a disruption takes place after an Adoption Order has been made, a Disruption Meeting may be held as part of the adoption support provided to the child and adoptive family in which case the same principles as set out in this chapter may be followed.

In the unfortunate event that an adoptive placement is at the point of disrupting all professionals involved will be aware of this and consequently the child’s Social Worker and the adopters link worker will need to be in consultation regarding how this will be managed. Ideally there should be a Care Planning Meeting. Consideration needs to be given to the following:

  1. Appropriate placement – return to previous placement?
  2. How the child will be moved from the adoptive placement;
  3. Timescales for above;
  4. Preparation for the child – appropriate goodbyes;
  5. Support issues for the adopters in managing the transition.

Where an adoptive placement breaks down prior to the granting of an Adoption Order, a Disruption Meeting must be held to identify the reasons for the breakdown and to learn lessons from the events surrounding the breakdown.

The Disruption Meeting will be held no sooner than 28 days after and no later than 42 days after the placement breaking down, and will follow a set agenda.

The child’s Social Worker will arrange for the meeting to be chaired independently by an experienced practitioner or manager from outside the adoption service not involved in the line management of the case responsible Social Worker. Where the adopters are approved by an agency other than Cumbria, we would normally request an independent chair through Adoption 22/BAAF.

The Disruption Meeting will be convened by the child's Social Worker, who will invite the prospective adoptive parents, their Social Worker, the current carers, the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer and any other relevant people. The child’s Social Worker will also ensure that the child’s views and feelings are given to the meeting in the most appropriate way. Minutes should be taken at the Disruption Meeting.

On receipt of the Disruption Meeting minutes a Care Planning meeting needs to be held in respect of the child and a Review held of the prospective adopters to consider the recommendations of the Disruption meeting for both parties – the child and the prospective adopters.

The child’s Social Worker and the prospective adopters’ Social Worker should attend the Adoption Panel to present a report from the Disruption Meeting. When this is considered, the Panel should also receive copies of the Panel minutes recommending the Adoption Plan for the child, the prospective adopters’ approval and the placement with the particular prospective adopters, to enable learning points to be shared.

The child’s Social Worker should contact the Panel Administrator to book a date for the Adoption Panel to consider the matter and the relevant documents should be sent to the Panel Administrator 10 working days before the Panel meeting.

Where an Adoption Placement Plan is terminated before the adoptive placement takes place (i.e. during introductions), a Disruption Meeting should be held. This would not require an Independent chair. As this will be chaired by child’s Team Manager this meeting should consider the reasons for the disruption, the care plan for the child and whether a review of the prospective adopters is required. The adoption Social Worker for the approved family, and the child’s Social Worker, will prepare a report for the Adoption Panel. The report must outline the reasons for the breakdown.

In all such cases, the Adoption Panel may consider whether the plan for the child should be reviewed and where it is in house approved prospective adopters’ whether their approval should be reconsidered, and these issues may need to be further investigated and reports be presented to a subsequent meeting.