- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Looked After Children and Leaving Care
- / Supporting children
- / Change of placement
- / Preventing placement breakdowns
Preventing placement breakdowns
Placement breakdowns are an inevitable occurrence. Active steps can be taken to reduce their likelihood, for example with careful matching and preparatory work with the child and proposed carers. Planning meetings can also be called to avert placement breakdown. An unplanned ending, breakdown or disruption is defined as a placement ending that was not included in the social work plan, either in the ending itself or the timing of the termination. Unplanned endings can occur because:
- the carers ask for the child to be removed
- the child asks to be removed
- the parents remove the child
- the child's safety is at immediate risk, or another child in the placement is at risk.
What support can be provided to the placement to prevent it breaking down?
It is rare that placements will suddenly breakdown, instead there is usually a period of deterioration in the relationship between the child and the carer which leads to the eventual breakdown of the placement. This period of time may be short, however it is vital that wherever possible this is recognised and appropriate support put in place.
In such cases it is important that both the child and the carers are spoken to, and, in the case of foster placements, the foster carers social worker is a key part of this process as they can have a frank discussion with the carers. The fostering social worker may also be able to access more support for the carers (e.g. respite services) in order to help address the carers needs.
Where possible an early review or a disruption meeting should be held - these multi-agency meetings allow everyone to work together to support the placement.
Disruption meetings A disruption meeting should be convened if:
- a long-term (permanent), matched fostering placement breaks down
- the standards of care being provided are cause for concern
- the likely breakdown / breakdown is the third for the child or for the carer
- Disruption meetings provide an opportunity for all of the parties to meet together, to reflect on the issues involved, including any grievances to be aired and to look at what lessons have been learned and to move on positively. Disruption meetings are not arenas for apportioning blame.Placements rarely disrupt as the result of one individual, but usually through a combination of factors. The disruption meeting should look at the sequence of events in order that:
- the child's needs can be met,
- the child's care history is more accurately recorded,
- practice can be improved within the department.
- The meeting should not concentrate only upon the placement that has just broken down but also previous placements and assessments.The meeting should be chaired by a service manager, IRO or independent chair depending upon the complexity of the case.
|In the event of a placement ending in an unplanned way decide whether there needs to be a disruption meeting or a planning meeting. If a planning meeting see planning meeting procedures.||Service manager and accommodation service manager||Computer||Within 10 working days of placement ending in an unplanned way|
|Identify suitable chair.||Service manager||Computer||Within 10 working days of placement ending in an unplanned way|
|Consultation regarding participants required to attend and invite to meeting including the child or young person.||Chair||Computer||Within 10 working days of allocation|
|Speak to participants including the IRO (if appropriate include child and family) before the meeting||Chair||Computer||Within 10 working days before meeting|
|Hold disruption meeting||Chair||Minutes||Between 4-8 weeks of placement breakdown|
|Send minutes||Chair||Computer||5 working days from meeting|
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