A child protection conference is a meeting to talk about a child who may have been harmed or could be harmed in the future. There may be concerns that a parent or carer is either causing the harm or failing to prevent it.
Who goes to the meeting?
The meeting could involve teachers, doctors, health visitors, school nurses, police, probation officers and social workers.
Parents or carers are also invited and supported to attend child protection conferences.
Children can attend if they are old enough to understand what the conference is about.
What happens at the meeting?
At the meeting, reports will be read and information shared about the concerns for the child.
The people at the meeting will decide whether they believe the child is likely to be harmed in the future.
Parents will always be asked for their views.
After the discussion, if the professionals believe the child is likely to be harmed then the meeting will begin to discuss the best ways to protect the child in the future. This will become the child protection plan.
Parents/carers who are unable to attend receive notes from the meeting.
The notes will include:
- Why the child has a protection plan
- The concerns that were raised
After the meeting
After the meeting parents/carers will receive a letter stating what the conference thinks should be done to protect the child in the future.
The key worker (usually a social worker from Children’s Services) will visit to talk about how these plans will work.
The case is looked at again at meetings called conference reviews which check whether the plans have worked and whether the child is still at risk.
The first review will be held within 3 months of the first meeting.
Parents/carers need to meet with the Core Group (people who work on the case) 10 working days after the conference (and then every 6 weeks until the conference review)
If the child remains at significant risk and still needs a protection plan, there will be conference reviews at least every 6 months to look at the situation again.