My Placement may be Breaking Down

Standards and Regulations

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:

See also: Understanding Placement Plans and Looked After Reviews.


Placement Stability Meetings

Placements ending in an unplanned way nearly always leave all those concerned feeling bad. Disruption is the word used to describe a placement, which ends before it was supposed to.

When you are struggling, it is important to use your support mechanisms to help you to find a way forward. Your Supervising Social Worker will want to work with you to make sure that everything is done to support you with children and young people living with you and to manage difficulties. They may call a Placement Stability Meeting to establish if any additional support can be identified to stabilise the placement and prevent the child/young person needing to leave.

Placement Stability Meetings are held where placements are beginning to become challenging. A Social Work Practice Consultant chairs them, and the aim of these meetings is as follows:

  • Not to attribute blame;
  • To share information, views and feelings about the causes of the possible disruption;
  • To agree the factors that have led to the disruption; and
  • To reassess the needs of the looked after child and carer to inform future support needs.

You attend, with the support of your Supervising Social Worker, and the Child’s Social Worker.

Disruption Meetings

However, not all foster care placements work out. There are occasions where support has been offered including a placement stability meeting, and the placement still needs to come to an end.

A disruption can also occur when Children’s Social Care feel the placement is no longer meeting the child’s needs or you decide that you are no longer able to care for a child or the child decides they do not want to stay in the placement.

It is vital that for whatever reason the placement ended, you make the move for the child as positive as possible.

A Disruption Meeting may be arranged by the child's social worker.

These meetings may be held a little while after the actual disruption so that some of the immediate feelings of upset have reduced. They will consider all aspects of the placement in an attempt to understand what happened. Disruption Meetings can sometimes feel threatening, but it is important to recognise that their purpose is not to blame anyone but to reach a better understanding of what happened, including whether more support should have been provided. Most carers who have been through a placement breakdown have found the Disruption Meeting helpful.

Who may attend:

  • You;
  • The child, if appropriate;
  • Your Supervising Social Worker and their Manager;
  • The child's social worker and their Manager;
  • The proposed carer;
  • Independent Reviewing Officer;
  • Any other relevant people. 

The Chair of the meeting should ensure that the circumstances that led to the disruption are reviewed, and that everyone has the opportunity to express their views in order to:

  • Find out how and why the disruption happened;
  • Learn from what happened and avoid the same thing happening again - for the child/others in your home;
  • Identify the positive work and good experiences for the child amongst all the difficulties;
  • Support all parties involved and help them carry on and recover;
  • Contribute to the future planning for the child;
  • Identify work to be done and who will do it.

The Chair will make sure minutes are sent to all those involved. The report of the Disruption Meeting may be presented to the fostering panel.

A Looked After Review should also be arranged.

A review may be held to look at your approval terms.