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Child Protection Conference

What is a Child Protection Conference?

It is a meeting to discuss concerns about the care of achild. Its main purpose is to see whether the child is at risk of harm and, if so, to agree what needs to be done to reduce this risk. The Conference can decide to make the child the subject of a Child Protection Plan

What is a Child Protection Plan?

Children are made the subject of a Child Protection Plan when they are thought to be at risk of harm. This might be from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. It helps to keep a check on the work being done with these children. The Plan contains basic details of the children and their families. It is held securely by Children’s Social Care and information from it is only given to authorised people.

Who will be at the Conference?

Practitioners who know the family will be invited to share any relevant information they have. These could include teachers, doctors, health visitors, school nurses, probation officers, housing providers and Social Workers. The police will also attend to share information and help decide future plans.

Are parents/carers invited?

Yes, it is important that they come to the meeting to give their views and hear what others are saying. They may bring a relative, friend or solicitor as a supporter. They would only be excluded if it was thought that they might be obstructive or that their presence might interfere with an investigation.

If the parents/carers do not attend they can put their views in writing to the Conference or ask the Social Worker to present their views. Whether or not they attend, they will receive a copy of the Conference minutes.

If there are any difficulties involved in attending, for example, parents/carers do not speak English, have a disability, or have child care difficulties, they can let their Social Worker know and they will try to help them.

Will the child be invited?

Only if their age and level of understanding allows, and it is not against their best interests; it will not be appropriate to bring very young children to the Conference.

What happens at the Conference?

  • The Conference starts with introductions and time is given for reports to be read.
  • The practitioners present will then share relevant information and their concerns.
  • The parents/carers will be invited to comment on the concerns and share any information. They may be asked to leave the meeting for a short time if there is confidential information, which cannot be shared with them at the time.
  • A decision will be made about whether or not the child will become the subject of a Child Protection Plan and if so, what needs to be done next.
  • The Conference will appoint a Social Worker for the child and set up a group of some of the people from the Conference (including parents/carers) to plan how to keep the child safe.

What happens if a decision is made to make the child the subject of a Child Protection Plan?

  • The Social Worker will arrange a meeting of the group to draw up a detailed plan, setting out the work needing to be done.
  • The group will meet regularly to check on how the work is going.
  • A Review Conference will be held within three months to look at what progress has been made.

Further Review Conferences are held within six monthly periods until the child no longer needs to be the subject of a Child Protection Plan.