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.
- Convening an Initial Conference
An ICPC must be convened when concerns of significant harm are substantiated and the child is judged to be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. This is identified through the undertaking of a Section 47 investigation, and the convening of a strategy meeting.
- Timing of an Initial Child Protection Conference
All Initial Child Protection Conferences (ICPCs) should take place within 15 working days of:
- The Strategy Meeting (at which the Section 47 enquiries were initiated), or
- Notification by another authority that a child subject to a Child Protection Plan has moved to Doncaster.
- Membership of Child Protection Conferences
Those attending conferences should only be there because they have a significant contribution to make either because of their expertise relevant to the case or their knowledge of the child or family. Additionally a professional may attend if they are to become a member of the core group, to receive the information and be a part of the next steps planning.
There should be sufficient information and expertise available, through attendance and written reports, to enable the Conference to make an informed decision about what action is necessary to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.
The Social Worker and their manager should draw up a list of professionals to invite and this list should be agreed with the Chair.
- Location and Timing for Conferences
The conference is usually held at the Mary Woollett center. However, there may be occasions when the conference is held at an alternative venue to suit the needs of the family and enable the young person to attend. This will be agreed with the Chair well in advance of the meeting to ensure safe arrangements are in place. The Social Worker is responsible for contacting the chair and leasing with the core group with regards to these arrangements. The venue will be on the invitation sent out by the Safeguarding and Standards unit.
Young people should not be expected to come out of school or college to attend their meeting, and as such conferences for these young likely will take place later in the day to enable them to attend.
- Information for the Conference
All reports should distinguish between fact, observation, allegation and opinion. Where information is provided from another source this should be made clear.
All reports should be made available to the Chair two working days before the ICPC and five working days before a RCPC. All agencies should prepare their report on the Signs of Safety template. It is individual agencies responsibility to share their reports with other agencies and importantly with the family and young person where age appropriate. Reports must be shared with the parents and young person where age appropriate no later than 2 days in advance of the meeting, 5 days for RCPC.
- Chairing the Conference: the Conference Chair
All Child Protection Conferences will be chaired by a Conference Chair. This person is a qualified social worker with in statutory child protection work. They are independent for the case and case responsibility.
- Structure of the Conference
Child Protection Conferences in Doncaster follow the Signs of Safety model.
The Chair will meet with the parents/child before the review to clarify the conference process whilst the professionals read all the reports
The Chair provides a brief explanation of the purpose of the meeting, introducing all participants and noting apologies, and clarifying the confidential nature of the meeting, and exceptions
The case is mapped using the Signs of Safety format; all professionals are expected to contribute. Parents, cares and young people in attendance are also invited to contribute to the case mapping, and clarify any points. This is the same for ICPC and for RCPC. The difference is that progress will be included with in the mapping of the case
Following summaries from the Chair with regards to the information shared, the risks and the strengths, the professionals will consider if the threshold for a child protection plan is met, for each individual child. Whilst it is a professionals decision, the chair has the autonomy to overrule the decision, and category
If a consensus cannot be reach, the Chair will take the decision to make the child/ren subject to child protection plan or not
Doncaster Children's Trust follows a one category rule: Emotional Harm, Physical Harm, Sexual Harm, Neglect
The child protection plan is then developed at the end of the meeting, outlining what needs to happen, by and when in order to ensure the child is safe. This plan is distributed at the end of the meeting
A core group is identified of family members and professionals
A date is set for the first core group meeting within ten working days of the conference
If the conference determines that a child does not need a protection plan but does need help to promote their welfare, the Chair should ensure that the conference still draws up a plan at the end of the meeting for distribution
The RCPC is held no later than 3 months after the ICPC, and then no later than 6 monthly intervals until the plan iis considered no longer required. The removal of a Plan can only be made at a conference. For dual planned children, this may be included within the Looked After review meeting (see dual planning)
- Transfer Child Protection Conferences
Transfer Child Protection Conferences are required to be held within 15 working days of a child subject to a CPP moving to live in Doncaster on a permanent basis.