Disruption of Adoptive Placements


This chapter details the purpose and process of the Disruption Meeting, which should include the placement introductions process should these break down.

Emphasis is on having Disruption meetings in a timely way, (ideally between 4 and 12 weeks depending upon the circumstances), and having a 'no blame' approach.


This chapter was reviewed with small amendments being made in November 2015.

1. Definition of Disruption

"Any adoption placement which ends in an unplanned way, either during introductions or prior to an adoption order being made, or up to one year after placement, whichever comes sooner."

(Adoption 22 definition 2010)

2. Purpose of Disruption Meeting

The purpose of the Disruption Meeting is to review the sequence of events leading up to the disruption and to identify learning points, the primary aim of which will be to assist in planning for the child's future. It is not to attribute blame and it is important that all participants are aware of this. The main aims are to:

  • Share information and identify factors which have led to the disruption;
  • Identify learning which will inform future planning for the child;
  • Enable the process of 'healing' for the child and the family;
  • Develop and improve knowledge and practice in the field;
  • Seek to identify learning opportunities, actions and areas of policy development for all agencies concerned.

3. When Disruption Meetings should be held

It is essential that a Disruption Meeting is held in a timely fashion. It is important to give people time to recover from the immediate trauma but, if too long a period elapses, then memories become less reliable and any recommendations reached by the disruption meeting will not be available.

In order to allow sufficient time for analysis and reflection, a Disruption Meeting should be held no earlier than 28 days after disruption, but no later than 12 weeks, unless a complaint is in process. In this instance, a Disruption Meeting should be held within 4-6 weeks of complaint resolution.

4. Convening an Adoption Disruption Meeting

The Head of Service (structure) must be informed in all cases when a Disruption Meeting has occurred.

The role of the Chair is crucial and an Independent Chair must be identified.

The funding for an Independent Chair would need to be joint funded between Knowsley and the adopter's agency.

This will be reflected in the inter-agency form completed at the Introductions Meeting (CoramBAAF H1 form).

The meeting should be minuted by a member of the Business Support Service, ideally by someone with experience of taking Panel minutes, to ensure quality.

5. Participants in Disruption Meeting

Participants should include:

  • Independent Chair;
  • Child's Social Worker;
  • Family Finding Social Worker;
  • Adoptive family's Social Worker;
  • Permanence Team Manager;
  • Adoption Team Manager;
  • Adopters (for part of the meeting only);
  • Foster Careers involved in introductions (for part of the meeting only);
  • Independent Reviewing Officer for child;
  • Current foster careers (part of meeting only);
  • Foster Careers supervising Social Worker.

Additional contributions should be sought from other parties and the Chair will decide whether it will be appropriate for them to attend, e.g.:

  • School/Nursery;
  • Health Visitor/School Nurse;
  • CYPMHS/Therapist;
  • Any other person with a significant contribution to make.

It is essential that the views of the child are represented at the meeting.

6. Disruption Meeting Process

Once all attendees have been identified, views will be sought in writing from them using the confidential Disruption Questionnaire. This will be sent out by the child's Social Worker (or QAU if process is managed by them).

If an Independent Chair from Adoption 22 is required, the child's Social Worker needs to send the Disruption Meeting request form to the Administration Manager of Adoption 22, Heather Graham.

7. Preparing for the Disruption Meeting

Participants should have adequate notice of the date of a Disruption Meeting and invitations and confidential questionnaires should be sent to all relevant parties no less than 3 weeks before the planned meeting.

This will enable participant's time to return questionnaires to the Chair and for the Chair to contact them beforehand, in order to clarify any comments and reassure participants, particularly adopters, about the purpose of the meeting.

It is imperative that information is made available to the Chair in advance of the meeting to allow time for analysis.

The child's Social Worker will make the following documents available to the Chair two weeks before the meeting:

  • Child's Care Plan;
  • Child's Looked After Reviews;
  • Adopters PAR;
  • Child's CPR;
  • Matching Meeting Minutes;
  • Adoption Support Plan;
  • APR;
  • Minutes of ADMA decision;
  • Panel Minutes of adopter approval;
  • Panel Minutes for match;
  • Placement Plan;
  • Introductions Plan.

8. Format of Disruption Meetings

A disruption meeting is likely to take a number of hours, so a suitable venue should be made available.

A Disruption Meeting will cover the following areas:

  • Relevant background information on the child;
  • Significant events in child's life;
  • Preparation of the child;
  • Family finding and selection process;
  • Matching process;
  • Planning for placement (child, foster careers, adopters);
  • Introductions;
  • The placement;
  • Events leading to disruption;
  • Present situation;
  • Learning points and recommendations.

9. Recording of Disruption Meeting

It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that an accurate account of the Disruption Meeting is recorded.

Minutes of the meeting should include a clear summary of the future needs of the child as well as recommendations and follow up actions for agencies involved.