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3.9.10 Disruption of Placement


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 - see Adoption Support Procedure - in which case the principles of this chapter may be followed.

Also see Placement for Adoption Procedure.


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.

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 Manager will arrange for the meeting to be chaired by an independent person.

2. The Disruption Meeting will be convened by the child's adoption social worker in consultation with their supervisor, who will invite the prospective adoptive parents, the supervising social worker for the adopters, the current carers, the child's Independent Reviewing Officer and any other relevant people. The Practice Supervisor for both the child's adoption social worker and the prospective adopters' supervising social worker must also attend. 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 meeting will consider:

  1. The child's needs and whether the adoption plan for the child remains appropriate;
  2. The existing arrangements for contact and whether they require amendment;
  3. The arrangements for meeting the child's health and educational needs and whether any changes are required to assist the child's development;
  4. Where the child is subject to a Placement Order, the need to seek revocation of the Order.

Other areas it could/should include are:

  • Brief history of circumstances that led to adoption decision being made;
  • Child's care experience, number of moves etc;
  • Preparation of the child;
  • How the match was made, decision making, contact, transition;
  • Placement and support package;
  • All participants views on what happened;
  • Lessons for future, points for future planning.

The child's adoption social worker and the prospective adopters' supervising social worker for an in-house approved family should attend the Adoption Panel to present a report from the Disruption Meeting. 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 adoption social worker should contact the Panel Administrator to book a date for the Adoption Panel to consider the matter and copies of the relevant documents should be sent to the Panel Administrator 3 weeks before the Panel meeting.
5. Where an Adoption Placement Plan is terminated before the adoptive placement takes place, the child's adoption social worker and the adoption supervising social worker for an in-house approved family, or the child's adoption 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.
6. 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.