What is the Child Protection Conference process?

A multi-agency Child Protection Conference will be held in cases where there is concern about significant harm to a child under 18 and where intervention is needed with the family in order to prevent harm in the future.

The decision to convene an Initial Child Protection Conference will be the outcome of an assessment undertaken during a section 47 enquiry (Children Act 1989), where the conclusion is that concerns are substantiated and the child is judged to be at continuing risk of significant harm. The social worker will consult with the Child Protection Coordinator, who is a designated specialist social work professional whose role includes advising on child protection issues and chairing all Child Protection Conferences.

The purpose of a Child Protection Conference is defined in government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018. The Conference brings together family members, the child/young person (where appropriate) and relevant professionals, in order to share and analyse information about the child’s needs and the parent/carer’s capacity to meet those needs, ensure the child’s safety and promote their health and development.

Conference members will consider the evidence about the child and family and make a judgment about the likelihood of the child suffering significant harm in the future. They will decide what future action is required in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, including whether to make the child subject to a Child Protection Plan.

A child can only become subject to a Child Protection Plan following a multi-agency Child Protection Conference. The Plan will identify which category of abuse is appropriate (physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or neglect). The Plan will outline what needs to be done, who by and when in order to reduce the risk to the child. It will also look at support to the family and what will happen if the child’s needs are not met.

When a child is subject to Child Protection Plan, the key professionals work together with the family as a Core Group, to develop and implement the Plan and monitor progress.

A Review Child Protection Conference will be held within three months and subsequently six monthly, to review progress and decide whether the child still needs to be subject to a Child Protection Plan, and to agree any further action needed.

Where work by the family and professionals under the Child Protection Plan has resulted in the risk of harm to the child being significantly reduced, the Review Conference may decide to discontinue the Child Protection Plan. At this stage the Conference will make recommendations about any further support the child and family may require.

Last Updated: 16 November 2020