Child Protection Conference
A Guide for Parents
What is a Child Protection Conference?
It is a meeting to discuss concerns about the care of your child. Its main purpose is to see whether your 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 your 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?
Those professional workers who know your family will be invited to share any relevant information they have. These could include teachers, doctors, health visitors, school nurses, probation officers 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 you come to the meeting to give your views and hear what others are saying. You may bring a relative, friend or solicitor as a supporter.
You would only be excluded if it was thought that you might be obstructive or that your presence might interfere with an investigation.
If you do not attend you can put your views in writing to the Conference or ask the Social Worker to present your views. Whether or not you attend, you will receive a copy of the Conference minutes.
If there are any difficulties involved in attending, for example, you do not speak English, you have a disability, or you have child care difficulties, let the Social Worker know and we will try to help you.
Will my 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 young children to the Conference.
What happens at the Conference?
- The Conference Chair will see you before the meeting to explain what will happen.
- The Conference starts with introductions and time is given for reports to be read.
- The professional workers present will then share relevant information and their concerns.
- You will be invited to comment on the concerns and share any information, but you do not have to speak if you would prefer not to.
- You may be asked to leave the meeting for a short time if there is confidential information which cannot be shared with you at the time.
- A decision will be made about whether or not your 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 your child and set up a group of some of the people from the Conference (including yourself) to plan how to keep your child safe.
What happens if a decision is made to make my 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 with you 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 your no longer needs to be the subject of a Child Protection Plan
Can My Child be Taken Away from Me?
In the vast majority of cases no. The conference cannot decide to do this. However, where there are serious concerns that a child would be at serious risk at home, the Local Authority may apply to a Court for an Order to remove the child. The Court makes the decision whether or not to make an Order only after careful consideration.
Fortunately in most cases, parents and professionals are able to work together and agree on plans which will allow the child to remain at home.
What if I disagree with the decision of the Conference or how it has been conducted?
If you wish to make a formal appeal or complaint, please contact the Chair of the Tameside Safeguarding Children Board (TSCB), at the address below. This should be done in writing within twenty-eight days, clearly stating your reasons.