• FosterWiki
  • Author:FosterWiki
  • Published:November 2022
  • Country: United Kingdom


 A guide to the main meetings for foster carers

A guide to the main meetings for foster carers

Introduction to the main meetings for foster carers

Meetings are an integral part of the foster carer’s role, this page helps you understand what they are, what they cover, who attends and your role.

The foster carer’s input is invaluable, as more often than not they will be the people who know the child or young people better than anyone and are on the front line on a daily basis. This puts them in a unique position to know what’s going on and affords them an overall picture based on the child over a period of time as opposed to a brief snapshot.

Understanding each meeting and the role it plays in the care of your children and young people will empower you to take a more active part and impact positively on the child’s care plan and future.

How do they work?

You should get a written invitation to these meetings in advance, giving you plenty of time to plan ahead for your child or young person and yourself to attend, to find out where they are, and at what time and plan ahead.

The written invitation usually makes it clear who else is invited. Meetings are held in a variety of places, in the local authority offices, in your own home, at school or at your agency.

With some meetings, you and your child or young person may get feedback forms so try to get these returned in plenty of time.

Placement Planning Meeting, What is it?

A Placement Planning Meeting is arranged as part of the process of identifying and placing a child. It is the place to discuss any issues relating to the child, their background and their day-to-day care, and to give the foster carers all the documents they should have and need.

When does it happen

The first Placement Planning Meeting should be called as part of the process of identifying and placing a child. This first meeting should be held before the placement. However, where this is not possible because of the urgency of the situation, it should be held at the earliest opportunity so that a Placement Plan is prepared within 5 working days of the start of the placement.

Further Placement Planning Meetings should be held at intervals agreed upon with the manager, the foster carers and their supervising social worker. On occasion, a further meeting will be necessary for example where there are issues to be resolved in relation to the day-to-day arrangements for the placement.

The social worker, manager, and foster carer’s supervising social worker will agree on the best format and venue for the meeting and who will chair the meeting.

What does it cover

Before the meeting the chairperson should be updated and obtain the child’s Placement Plan, the child’s Care Plan, Personal Education Plan and Pathway Plan (where appropriate) and the Delegated Authority form.

  • The purpose and objectives of the placement.
  • All the arrangements for education/training, school/college address, names of teachers and contact details, designated teachers, and any details of special educational needs.
  • The Delegated Authority form – essential for the foster carer for clarity over what decisions they can and can’t make.
  • Childs cultural and personal history.
  • What the child likes and dislikes.
  • Physical and mental health needs, any appointments, dentist, arrangements for consent/withholding consent.
  • Contact and family time, including who supervises, where and how often.
  • Agree on social work visits, where, when, and what time, and put the date in the diary.
  • Reviews and meetings.
  • Agreements on bedtimes, mobile phones, time to be in and smoking (older children) and other things that may be important in your house, and for safeguarding, so the child can be aware of these things in advance.

Who attends

  • Child or young person.
  • Foster Carer/s.
  • Child’s Social Worker
  • Supervising Social Worker (Link worker/fostering social worker/officer).
  • Service manager (but not always).
  • Birth family – Where appropriate. More often than not if this is the case the meeting will be held in the offices.

LAC or CLA review

What is a LAC or CLA review

A LAC review is an abbreviation for a Looked After Child Review, it can sometimes be a CLA Review, an abbreviation for Child Looked After. It is a meeting with all those concerned with the child or young person’s care and care plan.

At this meeting, Children’s Services will look at how things are going, whether the care plan meets the child’s needs and whether there need to be any changes for the future.

It reviews plans for the child, to see what’s happened since the last time, the progress and challenges, and concerns all aspects of the child’s life, from home life to school, family contact, friends, activities, mental health, physical health, delegated authority and more.

When does it happen

An initial review should be held within 20 working days of a child or young person coming into care.

The second review should be within 3 months, then at 6 monthly intervals after that.

A review can be bought forward by the IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer – who chairs the meetings) where the child’s circumstances have changed and have had a significant impact on the child’s care plan.

This might be things like new directions from the court, major changes to contact/family time arrangements, significant family changes, change of social worker, safeguarding concerns, section 47 enquiries, complaints or allegations, placement breakdowns or following stability meetings, if a child is charged with an offence, excluded from school, frequently missing, significant health diagnoses, illness, accident or hospitalisation.

What’s does it cover?

The purpose of the Children in our Care Review is to:

  • Make sure appropriate plans are in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.
  • Find the most effective way to achieve permanence for them within the timescales that meet their needs.
  • Monitor the progress of plans, and ensure they are being effectively progressed.
  • Made any amendments necessary to the plans to reflect any change in circumstances or new information.
  • To discuss transitions and moves into independence, including Staying Put.

The review should incorporate and consider the Care Plan, Permanence Plan, Health Care Plan, and Personal Education Plan (PEP Pathway Plan (where applicable).

The agenda should be agreed upon in advance and take into consideration the following:

  • Any change to the child’s circumstances since the last review.
  • Whether decisions taken at the last review have been successfully implemented and carried through.
  • Any change in the child’s legal status, any plans for permanence.
  • How contact/family time is going and if there are any changes and to ensure it’s being promoted.
  • How the placement is going, if there are any changes needed.
  • Ensuring the placement continues to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare, whether any safeguarding concerns have been raised.
  • The child’s educational needs are being met, progress, development and achievement.
  • Leisure interests and activities.
  • Child’s health report, any changes or recommendations to implement before next review.
  • Ensure the child’s needs are being met in regard to identity, religion, and cultural background.
  • The child’s voice is heard, they feel supported and arrangements continue to be appropriate and any changes are understood by the child.
  • Whether the delegated authority continues to be appropriate and in the child’s best interests.

Who attends

Invitations are arranged by the child’s social worker, they must be sent out to foster carers at least 10 days before the meeting.

  • IRO – Independent Reviewing Officer, who chairs the meeting.
  • Child (where appropriate).
  • Foster carer/s.
  • Child’s social worker.
  • Supervising social worker (Link worker/fostering social worker/officer) representing the foster carers.
  • Birth family (where appropriate).
  • Designated teacher.
  • Personal Advisor (if a child is over 16).
  • Other professionals involved in the care of the child, ie CAMHS, health visitors, police etc.

It’s important that a balance is struck in relation to who the child wishes to be present and the need for information and input from professionals in the team around the child and birth family.

Efforts should be made to keep the number present as small as possible, and information can be provided in writing or at a separate meeting where appropriate.

The IRO should consult the child or young person about their Care Plan before each review. If the child or young person does not wish to attend the review they do not have to, but the IRO must speak to the child before the review.

The IRO should provide a written record of the decisions to all participants within 5 working days of the meeting. This should also be sent to the children’s social care manager who will consider the decisions. A full written record of the review should be completed within 15 days of the review and sent out within 20 working days.

The foster carer’s role

The foster carer’s contribution to the review is vital in the process of sharing views, and information, identifying new goals and promoting the child’s development.

Before each review you will be sent a report document, ideally, you should complete this as soon as possible and return it to the IRO (usually through your supervising social worker/link worker/fostering officer/social worker).

There are commonly 7 areas useful in considering how the child is doing, they are health, education, identity, family and social relationships, social presentation, emotional and behavioural development, and self-care skills.

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

What is it

A Personal Education Plan (PEP) is a statutory requirement that makes sure a record is maintained regarding the child’s educational progress. It forms part of the child or young person’s overall care plan.

The PEP should detail what needs to happen in order for the looked-after child to fulfil their potential.

What’s it for

To review and plan the child’s education, usually every 6 months. To review all the support put in place and the spending of the PPP (Pupil Premium Plus, the child’s designated school fund).
The PEP should detail what needs to happen in order for the looked-after child to fulfil their potential.

When does it happen

It is the social worker’s responsibility to ensure that PEP meetings take place and happen within the timescales.

The first PEP should be completed as part of the Care Plan, within 10 working days of the child coming into care. This should then be presented to the first LAC review.

Then every 6 months, although if a child changed schools there should be one within 20 days of the child starting a new school.

What does it cover An achievement record?

Chronology of education and progress in terms of National Curriculum levels of attainment. Including information about all other educational settings/schools/colleges, reasons for leaving, attendance/conduct record, academic and other achievements, any special educational needs, and a history of the child’s education and any disruption before entering care.

Developmental/educational needs

Existing arrangements for school/education, any special educational provision and any other provision to meet the child’s educational needs and promote their educational achievement. Any planned changes to existing arrangements.

The child’s leisure activities and interests, long-term plans and aspirations.

Who attends

  • Child
  • Foster Carer
  • Child’s year teacher, designated teacher, or any other teacher who is relevant.
  • Child’s Social Worker.
  • Other professionals can also be invited, including the IRO, Supervising Social Worker, and additional professionals involved.

The foster carer’s role

As foster carers, we play an important part in our child or young person’s education.

We are there to advocate for our child and make sure their voice is heard. If age-appropriate it can be a good idea to talk about the meeting and how they feel things are going before you get there, see if there are any important things the child wants to speak about in relation to school and if they feel confident talking about it themselves or if they would like you to raise the issues for them.

Sometimes the child’s social worker might do this, but as the foster carer, you are with the child consistently and often best positioned to give the most comprehensive feedback.

Here are some things the Virtual School say that the foster carer might ask:

  • What are staff doing to enhance a child’s self-belief, motivation and high aspirations?
  • What, specifically, is being done to support the development of self-regulation, to improve disorganisation (or other aspects typical of Children Looked After)?
  • Are their relationships with staff and pupils good and, if not, what is being done to support him/her with this?
  • Are they engaging appropriately in the work? Is the set work made accessible to him/her (differentiated) when there are difficulties? Is s/he provided with adequate support for work?
  • Have their needs been taken into account in class seating plans?
  • How are social & emotional aspects of learning taught?
  • Does the curriculum content and delivery take into account that they are looked after?
  • Are they managing transitions well within the school day? If not, what support is being given?
  • Are they managing socially and emotionally during lunch and break time? If not, what support is being given?
  • Do they need extra support with learning? If so, what is or can be done?
  • Are there extra-curricular activities they could or should be attending?

What might the school ask you, the foster carer?

  • Are you satisfied with the level of communication between school and home?
  • What do you do to enhance self-belief, motivation and high aspirations?
  • What do you do to support the development of self-regulation?
  • Do you have a working knowledge of key stages, national expectations as regards progress, different pathways, how to support transition etc, or would you like more support?
  • What are you doing to promote literacy and numeracy skills at home? Would you like more support with this?
  • Are you providing the optimum environment for the completion of home learning?
  • What support do you give with home learning?
  • Are you taking your child to activities that enhance learning outside of school(Museums, Trips, theatre, cinema, sports)?

Placement Stability meeting

What is a Placement Stability meeting?

To stabilise a placement that is in danger of breaking down. If there are signs of a placement break down a stability meeting can be called to see what support can be put in place to avoid it breaking down.

Social workers should follow the procedure if they identify any sign of difficulty affecting the child, fostering family or agency which could in the future lead to disruption.

When should it happen

A Placement Stability Meeting will be called when the placement of a child in foster care placement is considered to be at risk of disruption.

What does it cover

A Placement Stability Meeting will be called for when a placement is considered to be at risk of disruption.

  • If the relationship between foster carer and child or young person has broken down.
  • There are concerns raised through the child’s, foster carers or placement review process.
  • The carers are expressing concerns that they are experiencing difficulties or feel they can’t continue to care for a child or young person.
  • There is an allegation or complaint.
  • The child is frequently missing from placement.
  • The child wants to end the placement or might be intentionally breaking it down.
  • The placement is not meeting the needs of the child.
  • Where the placement is unstable and every effort needs to be made to resolve the difficulties, support the placement fully and address areas of concern.
  • This meeting will consider all the factors that could in the future result in the disruption of the placement.
  • It will discuss and identify any areas of difficulty and how best to support the placement to avoid breakdown, and if the placement is considered to be in the best interests of the child.

Who attends

  • Foster carer.
  • Child or young person, where deemed appropriate.
  • Child’s Social Worker.
  • Social work Manager.
  • Supervising Social Worker.
  • Other relevant professionals where relevant, CAMHS, Advocate, IRO.
  • The foster carer’s role

    The foster carer’s role in a Placement Stability meeting is to work with the team around the child to find a resolution and outcome that meets the needs of the child and the fostering family.

    Disruption meeting

    What is it?

    This is a meeting that is carried out after a placement has broken down, its purpose is to examine the circumstances that led to the placement breakdown and see what lessons can be learned.

    When does it happen

    In order to allow sufficient time for analysis and reflection a Placement Disruption Meeting should be held no earlier than 28 days and no later than 42 days after the disruption unless a complaint is in process. In this instance, a Placement Disruption Meeting should be held within 4-6 weeks of complaint resolution.

    What does it cover

    The information gathered at this meeting can be used to inform future levels of support and seek to identify learning opportunities and actions for all involved.

    When endings are unplanned, the welfare and well-being of children remain paramount. Importantly the needs and feelings of other children living in a foster home, including birth children must be taken into account.

    The precise agenda will depend on the child or young person, and the placement’s unique set of circumstances surrounding the disruption, these should be properly reviewed and the person chairing the meeting should ensure that everyone is provided with opportunities to express their views freely and safely with a view to establishing how the disruption occurred.

    The learning outcomes from the meeting should contribute to the same thing not happening again for the child in a different setting and avoid the same thing happening again – for the child or others in the placement. It should contribute to the future planning for the child and identify work to be done and ensure it is completed.

    Who attends

  • The child.
  • The foster carer/s.
  • Birth family – if appropriate.
  • Child’s Social Worker.
  • Supervising Social Worker (also known as Link Worker/Fostering Social Worker, Officer).
  • Team Manager.
  • Other professionals involved can be invited where appropriate: IRO, Designated teacher, CAMHS, Health visitor, and other relevant professionals.
  • Disruption Meeting foster carers Guide guide to meetings LAC Meeting Meetings PEP
    The Mortgage Heroes