Disruption Meetings


This chapter outlines the purpose and role of meetings that should be held when a Placement for a child unexpectedly terminates. The disruption meeting seeks to 'learn lessons' where this is necessary and to improve planning for a particular child.


This chapter was reviewed and amended in January 2019. Highlighting further the rationale of Disruption Meetings (see Section 2, Purpose of the Disruption Meeting) and acknowledges those who might need to attend (see Section 3, Chairing and Convening the Disruption Meeting).

1. When a Disruption Meeting will be Held

A Disruption Meeting will be held in the following circumstances:

  • Where a child was placed as part of a Permanence Plan in a foster or residential placement, and the placement breaks down;
  • Where a child has had a number of short term or interim placements which have broken down, especially where three or more placements have disrupted in one year.

The Disruption Meeting should take place within two months of the disruption.

If a disruption occurs because of a specific event, for example the illness of the foster carer, and it is considered that there would be limited value in holding a Disruption Meeting, the allocated social worker and residential link worker/family placement social worker should prepare a report on the reasons for the placement ending and submit this to the delegated Head of Service for a decision as to whether a Disruption Meeting should be held or not.

2. Purpose of the Disruption Meeting

The purpose of the meeting is to examine various elements of the placement in order to bring some logic in the sequence of events leading to the disruption. 

This will:

  1. Review how and why the disruption occurred;
  2. Learn from what happened and avoid the same thing happening again - for the child or others in the placement;
  3. Help the child by understanding his or her needs better;
  4. Contribute to the future planning for the child;
  5. Identify work to be done and to ensure it is completed;
  6. Recognise the positive work and good experiences for the child amongst the difficulties;
  7. Support all parties and help them to carry on and recover;
  8. Demonstrate that disruption is never the fault of one or two people or the result of a single factor – it is invariably the outcome of a whole series of connected factors; and
  9. Ensure that appropriate notifications and other post placement arrangements have been undertaken.

When disruption occurs, no one person should blame themselves but equally everyone involved should accept their share of collective responsibility for what has happened.

The meeting will ensure the child, (depending on his or her age and level of understanding), is given the opportunity to understand the reasons for the disruption, and be supported with transition - including return home and independence.

Foster carers should be supported to maintain links with children who leave their care where this is considered appropriate.

The Disruption Meeting is not a planning meeting, but is an opportunity to review the past as a preparation for the child's future.

3. Chairing and Convening the Disruption Meeting

The child's social worker will inform the child's Independent Reviewing Officer of the need for a meeting, to discuss who should be present and make arrangements about the time and venue. Attendance can comprise of:

  • The Independent Reviewing Officer;
  • Allocated social worker;
  • His/her Team Manager;
  • Foster carers;
  • Family supporting social worker or key residential staff;
  • Social workers involved in the placement;
  • Current carers (unless this is not appropriate);
  • Minute taker.

It may also be appropriate to invite a therapist, but not teachers or other professionals. It will rarely be appropriate to include the child or members of the birth family. The allocated social worker will always ensure that the child's views and feelings are given to the meeting in the most appropriate way.

Prior to the meeting, the allocated social worker will arrange for the Independent Chair to have copies of:

  • The CoramBAAF Form E or other report on the child presented to the Adoption, Fostering and Permanence Panel (if applicable);
  • The Foster Carer's CoramBAAF Form F or other assessment report and the Adoption, Fostering and Permanence Panel minutes recommending approval of the carers (if applicable);
  • Minutes of Looked After Reviews held since the placement;
  • Any other documents that the social worker considers would be helpful.

4. Proposed Agenda for the Disruption Meeting

The meeting should follow a set agenda as follows:

  • Apologies;
  • Purpose of meeting - to identify the positives and learning points for the child/children and for general practice;
  • Circumstances of the child's reception into care;
  • Pattern of child's life in care;
  • Decision to seek the placement;
  • Assessment and preparation of the child;
  • Assessment and preparation of the carers and the Panel recommendation of their suitability (if applicable);
  • Matching and Panel recommendation;
  • The introductory period;
  • The Placement;
  • Events since the placement ended;
  • The child's current priority needs.

5. Minutes and Report of the Disruption Meeting

The minutes of the meeting will be prepared within ten working days of the meeting and copies will be sent to all participants.

The minutes will be written using the same headings as the agenda and should include key information to inform future planning for the child.

The Independent Chair will also produce a report of the Disruption Meeting which will be distributed to all participants.