Disruption of Adoptive Placements
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
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 April 2023.
- 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 Agency will arrange for the meeting to be chaired independently by an experienced practitioner or manager from outside the Adoption Agency not involved in the line management of the case responsible social worker;
- The Disruption Meeting will be initiated by the child's social worker, the adoption agency who will invite the prospective adoptive parents, their social worker, the current carers, the child's Independent Reviewing Officer and any other relevant people. The child's social worker will also ensure that the child's views and feelings are given to the meeting in the most appropriate way;
- The child's social worker and the prospective adopters' social worker should attend the Adoption 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 child's social worker should contact the Panel Administrator to book a date for the Adoption Panel to consider the matter and the relevant documents should be sent to the Panel Administrator 10 working days before the Panel meeting;
- 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 child's social worker in the case of an inter-agency placement, will prepare a report for the Adoption Panel. The report must outline the reasons for the breakdown;
- In all such cases, the Adoption 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.