What Is A Child Protection Conference?
A Child Protection Conference is a meeting that is held if there are significant concerns about a child or children or if a child has been injured.
What Happens At A Conference?
Someone called a Child Protection Reviewing Officer (Chair) will chair the meeting.
They will not have been investigating the concerns around the child, this is to make sure they are independent.
When you arrive at the conference the Chair will meet you and explain what will happen, what the conference will discuss and be able to answer any questions you may have.
Who Will Be There?
- Parents and Carers
- The Child’s Social Worker
- The Child’s Health Visitor, School Health Nurse or Doctor
- A Plain Clothes Police Child Protection Officer
- The Child’s Teacher
- The Chair
- A Minute Taker to Write Down What Happens
- The Child’s Advocate
Sometimes there may be other people:
- Any Other Person Involved in helping You and Your Family
Can I Come To The Meeting?
Yes, in fact we would prefer it if you do. As parents, you are invited because your views are very important. The children involved are also welcome if they are able to understand the issues.
Occasionally, we may have to ask parents to leave for a short time if there is confidential information to be shared. Sometimes parents have to be excluded from the whole conference, but this is very rare. If you have to leave, the chair will explain this to you and tell you why before the conference.
You may choose to bring someone with you. You could choose a friend, a family member or a solicitor. If someone comes with you, they can only support you – they should not join in the discussions. But if you feel they can help by providing important information, then discuss this with the chair before the meeting starts. If you choose someone to come with you remember that they will hear information that is personal to you and your family. This may include relevant convictions.
What If I Don’t Come To The Meeting?
If, for any reason you do not wish to come to the meeting, someone else such as an advocate or your child’s social worker will put your views and feelings across at the conference. Your Social Worker will see you before the meeting to show you what the social work report says and ask you for your views, so that they can tell the conference what you think.
If you prefer, you can put your views in writing and the chair will read them to the conference. Alternatively you can speak to the chair before the conference. Their contact number will be in your invite letter. We will always try as hard as we can to make sure the conference knows what you think and how you feel about the situation.
Whether you attend or not, we will give you a copy of the minutes of the conference so you will know what happened.
What Decisions Are Made At The Conference?
The professionals at the conference will have to decide whether your child or children’s names should be placed on the Child Protection Register, or if their names are already on the Child Protection Register, whether they should stay on. Their names will stay on the register until things have improved.
What Is A Child Protection Register?
The Child Protection Register is a list of all the children in the area who suitable professionals believe might not be safe. It is highly confidential and only a few people will know whose names are on it. All professionals attending the conference have to follow certain standards called the All Wales Child Protection Procedures. The conference minutes cannot be shared with anyone else without the chair’s permission.
What Happens If My Child Is Registered?
A plan outlining what will be done to protect the children is written by the professionals involved in their wellbeing, who will have informed you about the plan. A smaller group called the Core Group will be set up to make sure the plan is followed.
The Core Group will meet every month between conferences. As with the conference, you can come to these meetings, and if you choose not to then someone else such as an advocate or your Social Worker will give your views and feelings at the meeting.
The conference may recommend that Children’s Services seek legal advice.
What Can I Do If I’m Not Happy?
Although we will listen to your views and feelings, we can’t promise to do what you want us to. If you want to talk to someone about the meeting, make a complaint, or if you need any help, please contact the child’s Social Worker, the Complaints Officer, or ask for more information on how to make a complaint.
The Email Address of the Complaints Officer is: firstname.lastname@example.org