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5.1.5 Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings


Children move from foster placements for a variety of reasons, some of which are positive. However, we know that placement moves generally contribute to significantly reduced wellbeing for children who have already experienced loss and trauma.

Any important information which needs to be shared before a meeting for the benefit of the child, will be shared as required and not wait for a meeting to take place.


In February 2018, this chapter was extensively updated and replaces the previous chapter entitled 'Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings'.


  1. Disruption
  2. Unplanned Endings
  3. Planned Moves
  4. Making and Supporting Placements
  5. Supporting Documents

1. Disruption

A disruption is defined as a foster placement which has ended in the following circumstances:

  1. The child was placed and matched with the carers on a permanent basis;
  2. The child has been in the placement with these carers for over two years.

If a disruption occurs, then a disruption meeting will be held. The child’s team will co-ordinate this process and request reports from all relevant parties on the format provided. This will include the child if old enough, carers, child’s SW, carer’s SW, IRO, Virtual school.

The meeting will usually be facilitated by an IRO not directly involved in the child’s reviews, requested via the IRO Manager, or in exceptional circumstances by a Team Manager not currently involved.

The way in which the child is involved in the meeting will be carefully considered on an individual basis.

The purpose of the meeting is to understand what contributed to the disruption and what we can learn from this, not to apportion blame. The learning will contribute to future planning for the child and for the carers.

The disruption meeting notes will be considered at the Fostering Panel and used in Panel training.

The learning from disruptions will be co-ordinated by the Service Manager Fostering and shared with staff in District workshops, with foster carers in support group training and with IFAs as part of their contract monitoring.

The meeting will usually take place 6 weeks from the ending of the placement.

2. Unplanned Endings

An unplanned ending is defined as any foster placement of less than two years duration where the notice period or agreed time commitment has not been fulfilled or where the timescales for a planned move are not possible to implement in the notice period given. This may include situations where a planned placement move has not been progressed due to insufficiency of resources.

Where an unplanned ending occurs, the child, child’s Social Worker, foster carer and carer’s Social Worker will complete the learning form within 7 days of the placement ending and send it to the child’s Team Manager.

A meeting to review the circumstances and identify learning will be held. This will be called by the child’s Team Manager and include the Team Managers and allocated Social Workers for the child’s and carer’s teams (or IFA if an IFA placement). Others will be invited to attend or give their views.

The meeting will follow a Signs of Safety approach. It will consider the learning in relation to the child’s plan and make a decision about whether further placements with the carer(s) can be made pending a Foster carer review.

The meeting notes and learning identified will be passed to the Service Managers, Fostering and District, to collate the shared learning and disseminate via workshops, quarterly reports and IFA contract monitoring.

The meeting will usually take place 4 weeks after the ending of the placement.

3. Planned Moves

A planned move takes place where:

  1. A child moves into their identified and matched permanent placement;
  2. A child is moving on from a carer approved under the Emergency Foster Care Scheme;
  3. A child is moving on to another permanent placement- e.g. Adoption, SGO, CAO, return to parents;
  4. A child is moving on as an agreed response to a change in carer circumstances, e.g. death, ill health, placement unable to be supported to meet the child’s needs;
  5. There is a clear plan and timescales in place.

4. Making and Supporting Placements

Please refer to the matching policy and procedure.

Our approach to making and supporting placements of any duration will be by use of the Secure base model- and particularly the identification of:

  1. The child’s needs;
  2. The strengths of the proposed placement in relation to meeting the needs;
  3. The vulnerabilities/risks in the proposed placement;
  4. The supports that can/will be put in place to support the vulnerable areas and make the risks manageable.

The Placement Planning Meeting

This should take place before the child is placed other than in exceptional circumstances. It is a key meeting which will cover all the requirements outlined in the relevant procedure, but will particularly focus on the support plan. In addition to the child, parent, carers and Social Workers, the IRO will attend or submit their views to this meeting.

The support plan will be a key working document used in joint visits by the child’s and carer’s Social Workers and be reviewed as part of the CLA review.

The support plan will specifically outline what everyone involved will do in relation to the key needs/vulnerabilities.

A Care Planning meeting will be promptly arranged where anyone involved is concerned that the placement is in jeopardy or where the supports are not effective in ensuring the child’s needs are at risk of not being met. This meeting will draw in the network of people who can assist in the support plan. It is crucial that any difficulties are identified and addressed quickly to prevent deterioration and unplanned moves or placement disruption.

5. Supporting Documents

Please see Documents Library.

  • Fostering Disruption Meeting Agenda;
  • Fostering Disruption Questionnaire;
  • Fostering Support Plan;
  • Learning from unplanned Ending – Feedback Form;
  • Learning from unplanned Ending – Meeting Notes.