Child Protection Conferences
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a Child Protection Conference?
A child protection conference is a meeting we arrange to talk about serious concerns about your children’s safety or wellbeing. The point of the conference is to:
- Share concerns about the children or young people in your family
- Look at the needs and strengths of your family and risks they face, and
- Agree plans to help keep your children safe and well.
This Guide for Young People on Child Protection Conferences maybe helpful to read with your child.
Who goes to a child protection conference?
The people who may go include:
- You and one adult you can ask to come with you to support you. This could be a friend, relative, solicitor or an advocate who is an independent person to help you have your say
- The child, if they are old enough and able to understand
- Brothers or sisters of the child, if they are old enough and able to understand
- The chairperson who leads the conference
- A social worker
- A police officer who specialises in working with children and their families
- The child’s school nurse or health visitor
- A representative from the child’s school
- The doctor who will be asked about your family’s health and who will usually write a report
- Any other professionals involved with you and your family, and
- Someone to take notes of the meeting.
Professionals taking part in your conference are not allowed to talk about what is said with anyone except people who need to know.
What is decided at a child protection conference?
The conference will talk about your family’s circumstances and decide whether the children need a child protection plan. The chairperson at the conference will make this decision.
A child protection plan is there to help keep your children safe and support them, your family and you. It will say what work we need to do with you, as a parent or carer, to help you look after your children safely. It will also say what individual work we need to do with your children.
If we decide your children need a child protection plan, they will have a ‘lead social worker’.
We will need to make changes to the child protection plan to reflect changes in your life or family. We agree these changes at regular meetings (‘core group’ meetings) between you, the lead social worker and the main professionals involved with your family.
How do I take part in my children’s child protection conference?
You can come to the meeting and, if it would help, bring an advocate, a family member or friend or your solicitor with you.
- Your social worker should let you have a copy of their report to the child protection conference some days before the meeting to help you think about what issues you want to discuss.
- You can talk to the social worker or advocate about your thoughts and feelings about your family life and they will let the conference know about this.
- The chairperson of the conference will meet with you privately before the conference to give you a chance to say what you think, to tell you what usually happens at a conference and to listen to any worries you have about the conference.
- Everyone at the conference will be asked relevant information about your family and you will have a chance to comment on this information. Your views and opinions will be recorded.
- If you don’t want to come to the conference, or you can’t get to it, you can have your say by speaking or writing to the social worker or the chairperson of the conference, and this will be read out for you.
- If you have problems travelling to the conference or any other problems with talking, hearing or understanding, we can arrange for someone to be there to help you.
If English is not your first language and you have difficulty understanding spoken English, we can arrange for a translator to be at the meeting.
When do my children stop having a child protection plan?
A review conference will take place three months after the first conference. After that, there will be a review conference at least every six months.
The review conference decides whether your children still need a child protection plan.
The decision is based on what changes have happened since the previous conference. It is important you take part in review conferences by either coming to the meeting or talking or writing to the social worker to give them your views. This will help to make sure you have your say.
How can I find out more about the child protection conference?
If you have any questions about the conference, please feel free to ask your social worker or the chairperson who will run the conference.
You can phone the chairperson on 01323 466606.
If you don’t agree with the decision the conference makes to give your child a child protection plan, you or your advocate can write or phone the chairperson saying why you disagree. The chairperson will try and sort it out for you.
If you want to complain about the chairperson of the meeting, phone the Safeguarding Manager on 01323 466606.
Other Useful Contacts
You may also wish to contact any of the following organisations for advice or support.
Tel: 0808 800 5000 (Mon-Fri 8.am to 10 pm – to 6 pm at week-ends) or 24 hrs on email@example.com
Web address: www.nspcc.org.uk (opens in new window)
National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS)
Freephone: 0808 808 1001
Web address: www.nyas.net (opens in new window)
Tel: 0800 1111
Web address: www.childline.org.uk (opens in new window)