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5.3.9 Disruption of an Adoptive Placement


This procedure primarily applies to the disruption of an adoptive placement prior to the making of an Adoption Order. Where a disruption occurs after adoption, a Disruption Meeting may be held as part of the adoption support provided to the child and adoptive family, in which case the principles set out here may be followed.


In October 2018, this procedure was updated to reflect local practice and guidance.

  1. Where there is any concern that an adoption placement might be fragile or at risk of breaking down, the child's social worker and adoption social worker must urgently discuss the possible causes for this and identify, in discussion with the adopters, what additional support is required to sustain and strengthen the placement. Where appropriate, the Independent Reviewing Officer should be notified and a review promptly scheduled;
  2. If an adoptive placement breaks down prior to the granting of an Adoption Order, initial discussions must focus on what input/support might be required to re-establish the placement but, where breakdown is subsequently confirmed, a Disruption Meeting would seek to identify the reasons for the breakdown and to learn lessons about the needs of the child, abilities of the adopters and the planning and support given to both.

    The Meeting would normally be held 4 to 6 weeks after the placement broke down, and would follow a set agenda.

    Cambridgeshire Coram Adoption will arrange for the meeting to be chaired by an experienced practitioner or manager from outside their service not involved in the line management of the social workers involved;
  3. The Meeting will be convened by CCA who will invite the prospective adoptive parents, the child's 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;
  4. The child's social worker and, for CCA placements, 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, for CCA adopters, their approval and the placement with the particular prospective adopters, to enable learning points to be shared. Where the placement has been with external adopters a copy of the Disruption Meeting minutes and recommendations should be provided to the relevant adoption agency panel for their information.

    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 15 working days before the Panel meeting;
  5. Where an Adoption Placement Plan is terminated before the adoptive placement takes place (i.e. during introductions), the adoption social worker and the child's social worker will jointly prepare a report for the Adoption Panel. The report must outline the reasons for the breakdown and what was learned from any Disruption Meeting;
  6. In all such cases, the Adoption Panel may consider whether the prospective adopters' approval should be reconsidered, and this may need to be further investigated and reported to a subsequent meeting.