Disruption of Adoptive Placements


This chapter applies to disruptions of adoptive placements, which occur prior to an Adoption Order having been made. Where a disruption takes place after an Adoption Order has been made, a Disruption Meeting may be held as part of the adoption support provided to the child and adoptive family in which case the same principles as set out in this chapter may be followed.


This chapter was refreshed in June 2023.
  1. Where an agency adoptive placement breaks down prior to the granting of an Adoption Order, a Disruption Meeting must be held to identify the reasons for the breakdown and to learn lessons from the events surrounding the breakdown. When endings are unplanned, then the welfare and well-being of children remain paramount and agency staff act at all times with this in mind.

    The Disruption Meeting will be held no sooner than 28 days after and no later than 42 days after the placement breaking down, and will follow a set agenda.

    The Adoption Service will arrange for the meeting to be chaired independently by an experienced Expert Practitioner, Assistant Team Manager or Team Manager from outside of the Adoption Service not involved in the operational management of the social worker.

  2. The Disruption Meeting is convened by the allocated social worker in consultation with their supervisory Team Manager who will invite the prospective adoptive parents and their social worker, the current carers, the Independent Reviewing Officer and any other relevant people who can contribute to the meeting. The social worker will also ensure that the child's wishes and feeling's are provided to the meeting in the most appropriate way;

  3. The social worker and the prospective adopters' social worker should attend the Panel to present a report from the Disruption Meeting. When this is considered, the Panel should also receive copies of the Panel minutes recommending the adoption plan for the child, the prospective adopters' approval and the placement with the particular prospective adopters, to enable learning points to be shared.

    The social worker should contact the Panel Administrator to book a date for the Panel to consider the matter and the relevant documents should be sent to the Panel Administrator 10 working days before the Panel meeting.

  4. Where an Adoption Placement Plan is terminated before the adoptive placement takes place (i.e. during introductions), the adoption social worker for an in-house approved family, or the allocated social worker in the case of an inter-agency placement, will prepare a report for the Panel. The report must outline the reasons for the breakdown;

  5. In all such cases, the Panel may consider whether the plan for the child should be reviewed and/or whether the prospective adopters' approval should be reconsidered, and these issues may need to be further investigated and reports be presented to a subsequent meeting.