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4.1.4 Placement Planning, Maintenance and Disruption Meetings

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in May 2014 in line with the Children's Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013. In Section 2, Maintenance Meetings a note was added that where there are child protection concerns relating to a child and/or where the child has gone missing from the placement or from any previous placement, the Placement Plan must include information agreed between the local authority and the placement provider about the day-to-day arrangements put in place to keep the child safe.


Contents

  1. Placement Planning Meetings
  2. Maintenance Meetings
  3. 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 Placements in Foster Care Procedure and the Placements in Residential Care Procedure. The first Placement Planning Meeting should be held before the placement or, where this is not possible because of the urgency of the situation, within 5 working days of the placement. Where this is not possible because of the urgency of the situation, it should be held in order that the Placement Plan is prepared within 5 working days of the start of the placement.

Further Planning Meetings or Core Group Meetings should be held at intervals agreed with the manager of the residential home or the foster carers and their Fostering social worker - or as required 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/Fostering Social Worker will agree the best format and venue for the meeting and who will chair the meeting.

The people listed below should contribute to the meetings:

  1. The child’s social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. Personal Adviser or advocate;
  2. The child (dependent on age and understanding);
  3. The child’s parents;
  4. For children in residential care, the child’s link worker or keyworker and, where appropriate the home manager;
  5. For children in foster care, the foster carers and their Fostering social worker.
Before any meeting, the chairperson should obtain or be updated on the following:
  1. The child’s Placement Plan Parts 1 and 2 including Medical Consent and where appropriate Consent to Accommodate (this MUST be available);
  2. Any work which has been undertaken in supporting the child’s placement;
  3. If relevant: the child’s Care Plan, Personal Education Plan and Pathway Plan.

Where the proposed placement has the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for the child's education and training - see Education of Looked After Children Procedure.

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.

If there are concerns about the suitability of the placement, consideration should be given to 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 Child Review;
  • Ending the placement.


2. Maintenance Meetings

Consideration should be given to convening a Maintenance Meeting where concerns have been raised by any relevant and involved party that a fostering placement for any child is likely to end abruptly or in an unplanned manner. No move for any child will be considered unless the viability of a convening a maintenance meeting has been considered by the Fostering Social Worker, their supervising Foster Manager and the child’s Social Worker.

Those invited should/could include:

  1. The child;
  2. The parents;
  3. The child's social worker and manager;
  4. The foster carer(s) and Fostering social worker;
  5. The child's Independent Conference and Reviewing Officer (ICRO);
  6. The child's current carers;
  7. Other relevant staff/professionals or person who could assist in supporting the child’s placement.

The purpose of the meeting should be clearly understood by all attending and the focus of the meeting must be to ensure that the child’s needs are being appropriately met and promoted whilst living in the current foster placement. All attempts must be made to maintain the current placement, thus creating stability and security for the child placed. All agencies invited and involved should look at how best to exercise their duties towards the child and how best to support the carers in delivering good quality care.

Most Maintenance Meetings will be convened under the structure and ethos of Restorative Practices and as such it may be appropriate to consider appointing an independent chair person; this can be member of the Fostering team who is not directly involved in the decision making or service deliver to either the child(ren) who are the subject of the meeting or the carers with whom they usually reside.

The meeting should consider:

  • The circumstances that have precipitated this meeting;
  • How best to meet the child’s needs;
  • How each agency can promote the child’s welfare and support the current carers to meet the child’s needs;
  • How to avoid the circumstances that have lead of this meeting occurring again;
  • Whether the foster placement should continue for the child or what other option for their care would be appropriate;
  • What to do should anyone be unhappy with the plans made;
  • Who will notify all interested and involved parties who were unable to attend the meeting;
  • Whether a further planning meeting or Core Group Meeting is necessary and when this should be.

Where there are child protection concerns relating to a child and/or where the child has gone missing from the placement or from any previous placement, the Placement Plan must include information agreed between the local authority and the placement provider about the day-to-day arrangements put in place to keep the child safe.

The Fostering Social Worker and the Child’s Social Worker should record the outcome of the meeting clearly in the foster carer’s records and the Child’s records, respectively.


3. Disruption Meetings

Consideration should always be given to convening a Disruption Meeting in relation to children whose placement has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis.

For children whose adoptive placement disrupts, a Disruption Meeting must take place - see Disruption of 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, should be:

  1. The child;
  2. The parents;
  3. The child's social worker and manager;
  4. The link worker/keyworker (for residential care) and home manager;
  5. The foster carer(s) and supervising social worker;
  6. The child's Independent Conference and Reviewing Officer;
  7. The child's current carers;
  8. 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 and be supported with transition - including return home and independence.

Foster carers must 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 the 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 child, the carers or residential staff or by any other person important to the child or the Child's Plan including family members;
  • To ensure that appropriate notifications and other post placement arrangements have been undertaken.

The minutes and/or the details of any actions agreed at the meeting should be recorded on the Child's Liquidlogic record and the Carer's Liquidlogic records as appropriate.

In relation to the disruption of an external residential placement, consideration needs to be given to further use of the resource by the authority.

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 of Foster Carers Procedure.

End