Julia Raasch

Information for parents

Use the boxes below to find out more about Child Protection Conferences.

What is a Child Protection Case Conference?

A Child Protection Case Conference is a meeting of a group of professionals. Each of them will know, or be aware of your family.

What happens before the conference?

We will usually send you an invitation to the Conference. There are some situations where it is not appropriate for parents to attend all or part of the meeting. If this happens a full explanation will be given to you by the Conference Chair in the form of an exclusion letter. You will have an opportunity to meet with the Conference Chair after the Case Conference to discuss the decisions which have been made.

The social worker will write a report for the Case Conference. You should be provided with the report at least two days before the Case Conference. If you do not agree with any part of the report you will have the opportunity to explain why in the Conference. 

(On rare occasions it may not be appropriate for a parent to receive any information about a Case Conference.)

You can meet the Conference Chair before you go into the Conference so that he or she can tell you what is going to happen. You will be given time to share your views with him or her. If you want to take part in this meeting you must arrive 30 minutes before the Case Conference starts.

Young children should not be brought to the Conference. You will need to arrange for them to be looked after somewhere else. If this is difficult, discuss it with the social worker in plenty of time before the Case Conference.  

If you have problems getting to the Conference you need to discuss this with your social worker. 

The social worker can help if you need advice on:

  • Child care arrangements
  • Wheelchair access
  • Someone to sign for you if you have a hearing difficulty
  • An interpreter if you do not speak English             
Can I bring a supporter?

You may want to bring someone to the meeting to act as a supporter or to explain anything you do not understand. This may be a relative, friend, advocate, or you may want to bring a solicitor. Whoever you bring to support you may sit in the meeting with you, but they would not normally be able to join in the discussion.  They cannot be involved in any decision making.

Who will be there and what will happen?

The Conference will be chaired by a Conference Chair who is not directly involved in work with you and your family. They are there to make sure that the meeting is held in a proper manner and that the right decisions are made about your child. 
Other people at the Conference may include: 

  • Social workers
  • Health visitor
  • School nurse
  • Midwifery services
  • Teacher or headteacher
  • Police
  • Education welfare
  • Drug and alcohol services
  • Probation
  • Local authority solicitor
  • Doctor (GP or paediatrician)
  • Children’s Centre workers    
  • Any other agencies who are involved with you or your family         

The people at the meeting will share information about your family and the concerns raised about the care or safety of your children. Your views are very important and the Conference Chair will make sure that you have the opportunity to speak at the meeting.

What will be talked about in the meeting?

People at the meeting will talk about:

What has happened which led to the meeting being called. Your family tree, which is called a ‘genogram’. This will help us to make a list of your child’s main family members, showing who else supports your child and any adults who we think could harm your child. ‘Dangers and harms’ – this means what we are worried about.

  • What has happened which led to the meeting being called.
  • Your family tree, which is called a ‘genogram’. This will help us to make a list of your child’s main family members, showing who else supports your child and any adults who we think could harm your child.
  • ‘Dangers and harms’ – this means what we are worried about.
  • ‘Complicating factors’ – this means things which make life difficult for your child.
  • ‘Grey areas’ – this means things we don’t know enough about.
  • ‘Protective factors’ – these are good things and strengths within your family. 
What will the Conference decide?

The Child Protection Conference has to decide whether your child has been harmed, or is at risk of being harmed in the future. If this is the case your child will be made subject to a Child Protection Plan.

A plan will be agreed between you and the professionals at the conference to reduce the risk of harm to your child. If you disagree with the decision, this will be recorded. 

If a Child Protection Plan is agreed it must be under one of the following categories:

  • Neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
Will my child be taken into care?

The Case Conference cannot make this decision. However it might believe your child is not safe at home and recommend that the social worker has discusses the situation with their team manager and considers further action which may include seeking legal advice. If this is necessary the social worker will be able to explain what it means.

What is the Child Protection Plan?

A Child Protection Plan is a list of the work that needs to be done to make sure that your child is safe. It will look at:

  • What needs to change
  • How will we know change has happened
  • What will be done; who will do it; when it will happen.

As part of the Plan there will be Core Group meetings every four weeks, and you are welcome to come along. The Core Group is made up of the people who were at your child’s Case Conference. This meeting will look at the Child Protection Plan to see what is working and check your child is safe.

Some of the people at the Child Protection Conference might visit your child and work with your family. Your child’s social worker will visit your home regularly and talk to you and your child, and to other people who were at the Conference. They will ask how the Child protection Plan is progressing. This means what is going well and what still needs to change to keep your child safe.

Your child’s social worker will also need to visit him or her in other places, such as at school.

How long will my child have a Child Protection Plan?

Your child will have a Child Protection Plan for as long as we think we need to work with your family to keep him or her safe.

There will be a first Review Conference of the Child Protection Plan within 12 weeks of the first Case Conference. After that another Review Conference will be held within every six month period, or until a Child Protection Plan is no longer needed to keep the child safe.

Your child will have a Child Protection Plan for as long as we think we need to work with your family to keep him or her safe.

There will be a first Review Conference of the Child Protection Plan within 12 weeks of the first Case Conference. After that another Review Conference will be held within every six month period, or until a Child Protection Plan is no longer needed to keep the child safe.

Will I see a copy of the minutes?

A note taker will record what is said throughout the Case Conference, and you will receive a copy of what was recorded in the meeting. This will usually be given to you within 20 days of the meeting.

During the meeting the Child Protection Plan will be completed and you will have a copy of this to take with you after the meeting.

What if I am unhappy about the Conference?

If you do not agree with the decisions a record will be made of your views in the minutes of the meeting.

If you wish to complain about any aspect of the Child Protection Service you can contact: Doncaster Children’s Services Trust Manager of Child Protection Services; Safeguarding and Standards Service.  We will aim to work with you to resolve the matter. If this is not possible you can make a formal complaint. Details of how to do this are here

“When I met with them, they were very complimentary about the support they’d had from you and the Trust in general. “

Safeguarding Children's Board

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