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.
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:
Where the proposed placement has the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for the child's education and training - see Education of Looked After and Previously 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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Only valid for 48hrs