Child Protection Conference
What is a Child Protection Conference?
A Child Protection Conference is a meeting to discuss and record all concerns about a child or children. The aims of the meeting are to:
- consider whether a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed and the nature of the concern about the child
- assess the degree of risk to the child's health and well being, and whether the child needs protection
- decide whether the child should become the subject of a Child Protection Plan
- make any recommendations about any further action needed to help the child.
Who is at the conference?
Parents and people from agencies who know the family are invited to attend the conference, for example heath visitors, teachers, doctors and social workers.
The meeting will be led by someone who has not been involved in the enquiries or case so far. They will make sure that everyone has a chance to give their views. The child concerned will be invited to attend if this is appropriate.
We realise that it can be very difficult for parents or carers to come to a meeting like this. It can be helpful to bring a partner, solicitor or friend who can provide support. If a solicitor comes they will need to note that the conference is not a formal hearing.
Parents and carers do not have to come to the conference, however your views are very important if the meeting is going to come to the right conclusion, if you choose not to come you can give your views in writing.
What happens at the meeting?
Parents and carers meet the chairperson before the meeting and read any reports which have been prepared. You will have an agenda of what will happen in the meeting.
Introductions are made and parents and carers hear what everyone has to say, they also have a chance to ask questions and give their own views. Parents and carers will be able to say what help they need in caring for their child.
What if parents and carers disagree with what happens at the meeting?
If you disagree with the decisions or recommendations at the conference you can ask to meet the chairperson to discuss your concerns. If you feel you can't speak directly to the chairperson you can share your concerns in writing.
All professionals at the meeting must keep to the strict rules of confidentiality. They will not discuss the conference with anyone other than the people they work with and who need to know. Notes of the meeting are sent to parents and carers and everyone who was invited to attend. These notes are kept confidential.
What happens next?
If your child is thought to be at risk of harm they will be made the subject of a Child Protection Plan.
Child Protection Plan
The Child Protection Plan outlines what actions need to be taken to reduce the risk of harm to your child. We will hold a review conference at least every six months to look again whether the need for a plan remains. If we agree that the risk to your child has been removed, there will no longer be a protection plan.
We will always try to keep children with their families in their own homes. Sometimes this is not possible, but we rarely remove a child from their family. In some cases, the person allegedly abusing the child may be asked to move out so that your child can stay at home. If your child is thought to be at risk you may still need support. We have a responsibility to provide information, advice and practical support, or ask other agencies to help your family. Whatever the outcome of the work we are undertaking you will be aware at all times
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