View Cambridgeshire LSCB Manual View Cambridgeshire LSCB Manual
View Working Together to Safeguard Children View Working Together to Safeguard Children

4.2.4 Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings


In May 2018, this chapter was extensively revised and should be re-read in full.


  1. Placement Planning Meetings
  2. 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 Placement in Foster Care Procedure and the Placement in Residential Care Procedure where the detailed requirements for Placement Planning Meetings can be found.

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 arranged such 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, for example, where there are issues to be resolved in relation to the day to day arrangements for the placement.

The social worker and home manager/foster carer's supervising social worker will agree the best format and venue for the meeting which would normally be chaired by the SW Team.

The people listed below should contribute to the meetings:

  • The child's social worker and/or other professional(s) 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;
  • Where appropriate, someone able to support planning for the child's education, such as their school or the Virtual School.

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 or is planned to support the placement;
  • Arrangements to meet the child's cultural needs, particularly where the placement does not offer a 'match'; and
  • Where available, the child's Care/Pathway Plan, Personal Education Plan, etc.

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.

Where the proposed placement might affect the arrangements made for the child's education and training - see Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children Procedure.

Where the proposed placement is out of area, see Out of Area Placements Procedure.

Where there are concerns about the suitability or stability of a placement, a Placement Planning Meeting should be held to consider 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 in a planned and managed way.

2. Disruption Meetings

Consideration should always be given to convening a Disruption Meeting in relation to children whose permanent placement has ended abruptly or in an unplanned way. Wherever possible a meeting should be held before this stage to explore the support needed to sustain the placement.

For children whose adoptive placement disrupts, a Disruption Meeting must take place - see Disruption of an Adoptive Placement 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, as appropriate to the circumstances, should include:

  • 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 should 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 this 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;
  • To consider any learning/development implications for the home/foster carers.

The chairperson should ensure that minutes are taken, which must be promptly circulated to all concerned (always within 4 weeks) and a copy added to the child's file.

In relation to the disruption of an external residential or foster placement, understanding the causes of disruption may lead to consideration of the suitability of this placement for future use by Cambridgeshire. 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.