Placement Planning Meetings
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter covers:
- Pre-Placement Planning Meetings (where placements are being considered) (see also Gateway Panel Procedure);
- (Post) Placement Planning Meetings (including Emergency* Planning Meetings);
- For guidance on Disruption Reviews, including Disruption Meetings for children whose placement has ended abruptly or on an unplanned basis please see the Disruption Reviews Procedure.
1. Pre-Placement Meetings
Before a child is placed, the case must be presented to the Gateway Panel (see Gateway Panel Procedure). Once a suitable placement has been identified, a Pre-Placement Planning Meeting should be convened either to confirm and/or plan the arrangements for placement including the drawing up or clarification of the child's Care Plan, Placement Plan and other key plans e.g. Personal Education Plan or Pathway Plan.
2. Emergency Planning Meetings
If the child is placed on an emergency or unplanned basis, a planning meeting should be convened at the following intervals: within 3 working days if the child is placed in residential care or within 7 working days if the child is placed in Foster Care, with Parents or relative/Friends. The case should be presented to the Gateway Panel at the earliest convenience.
3. Placement Planning Meetings
After a child is placed, Placement Planning Meetings should be convened on a regular basis to enable effective monitoring of the child's plans/arrangements. These will be held at intervals agreed by the Manager/Carer in consultation with the social worker (e.g. after a Child Looked After Review).
4. Placement Stability Meetings - under review
In circumstances where the placement stability is considered to be at risk of disrupting, a meeting should be urgently convened within 5 working days.
This should include:
- The child's social worker;
- The carer;
- The carer's supervising social worker or key worker in the case of residential; and
- Fostering, Residential or Adoption team manager or Practice Manager (who will also act as chair).
The purpose of this meeting is to explore all possible, safe options to maintain the placement including:
- Additional support to the child;
- Additional support to the parent/carer.
Notice of ending of placement of 28 days should not be accepted until this meeting has been held and a decision made, unless there are serious safeguarding issues identified and agreed by the fostering team manager.
5. Arranging and Chairing Meetings
In Children's Homes, meetings will be arranged and chaired by the Manager or Link/Keyworker.
In Foster Care, meetings will be arranged and chaired by the Team Manager, Practice Manager or social worker.
For other placements, by the Team Manager, Practice Manager or social worker.
5.1 Who should contribute to Meetings
The people listed below should contribute to the meetings (if the child has been placed on an emergency basis, it may not be possible to notify/invite all those listed. However, it is essential that the following people are invited/contribute):
- The child's social worker and/or other professional associated with the child e.g. Personal Advisor or Advocate;
- The child;
- The child's Parents;
- The child's Keyworker/Carer(s), and/or Home Manager;
- If the child is placed in Foster Care, the Supervising social worker, Fostering Team.
5.2 Preparation and Conducting Meetings
If the child has been placed on an emergency basis, it may not be possible to undertake all of the following arrangements.
Before the review/meeting the chairperson should obtain or be updated on the following, if available:
- The child's Placement Plans;
- Any work which has been undertaken by key professionals involved in supporting the child's placement;
- If relevant: the child's Care Plan, Personal Education Plan and Pathway Plan.
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.
During the meeting, the chairperson should ensure that consideration is given to the appropriateness of the placement within the context of the child's Care Plan or Pathway Plan and the need for the Placement Plans to be drawn up or amended as appropriate.
This does not mean that amendments to Placement Plans may only be made at Planning Meetings. When Placement Plans are formulated and at each Planning Meeting, the social worker and Manager/chair should agree the extent to which they can be amended between Planning Meetings and proposed changes to be discussed with the child's IRO.
The chairperson should consider whether the child requires an Advocate or the appointment of an Independent Visitor; if so, this should be raised with the child's social worker.
If there are concerns about the suitability of the placement, consideration should be given to the following:
- Analysis of the child's needs and identification of gaps where the placement is not meeting the child's needs;
- Whether it is possible to sustain the placement until the next Child Looked After Review by, for example, providing additional support to the placement;
- Bringing forward the date of the next Child Looked After Review in consultation with the Independent Reviewing Officer, see Child Looked After Reviews Procedure;
- Ending the placement.
Any decision to continue the placement of a child that has been placed in an emergency or unplanned basis must be referred to the Gateway Panel (see Gateway Panel Procedure).
Where the proposed placement has the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for the child's education and training - see Education of Children Looked After and Previously Looked After Procedure.