Child Protection Conferences
A child protection conference is held when professionals have concerns about parents/carers care of their child. Its purpose is to decide whether a child is at risk of significant harm because of abuse or neglect and, if so, to agree what needs to be done to reduce this risk and ensure the child is protected. Significant harm is defined as the ill- treatment or impairment of a child’s health or development, including the impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill treatment of someone else.
The conference brings together family members, the child (where appropriate), supporters/advocates and the professionals most involved with the child and their family.
The purpose of a conference
The purpose of the conference is to consider, in a multi-agency setting, information presented at the conference about the child’s present situation, their family history, how the family is currently managing and how they’ve managed in the past.
The conference reviews the likelihood of a child suffering significant harm in the future, and makes a decision on whether the child is at continuing risk of significant harm. The conference then decides what future action is needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. This can include the child becoming the subject of a child protection plan.
Child Protection Plan
Children are made the subject of a child protection plan when they are considered to be at risk of harm. This could be from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. The plan helps co-ordinate and review the work being done with the child and their family. It is also used to evaluate whether there have been any improvements in the care of the child.
The child’s situation is regularly reviewed. When improvements are made and sustained, and the conference assesses that the child is no longer at risk of harm the child can come off the child protection plan.
Children 12 and over are actively encouraged to participate in all or part of the conference. Families’ participation in conferences and their feedback on the process is also actively encouraged.