Understanding Child Protection Conferences

What is a Child Protection Conference?

It’s a meeting called when workers (people such as teachers, doctors and social workers) are worried about your safety or the way you are being looked after. It will decide whether any action needs to be taken to keep you safe.

What is a Conference for?

It is to talk about what may have happened, and why people are worried about you

To share information about the good things that happen in your family and talk about any problems you and your family may be having.

To decide if you need protecting and if you do, to decide the best way to keep you safe.

Who will be at the Conference?

• Your parents/carers
• Your Social Worker – who will want to work with you and your family to make things better
• Other people who know you and your family, for example, teachers, or a health visitor if you have a younger brother or sister.
• People that you may not know like police officers or solicitors
• A person who leads or chairs the meeting called an Independent Reviewing Officer
• A person who makes notes about what is said (minute taker).

Your social worker will explain who has been invited and why and will ask you if you think anyone else should be invited.

Can I attend?

If you want to come talk to your Social Worker. If the people involved believe its best for you, then you can come for some or all of the meeting.

If you can’t or don’t want to come your social worker will talk to you about how you can make your views known to the meeting. You could send your views in writing or ask someone to speak on your behalf.

Your social worker will let you know what was said at the meeting if you do not attend. The chair will send you a letter after the meeting.

What happens at the meeting?

You and your family will meet the person chairing the Conference before the meeting starts. In the meeting, you and your family will meet everyone and they will say who they are and how they know you or your family.

The person chairing the meeting will tell you why the Conference is taking place. The people present will share information about the good things and the difficult things in your family. Information may be read from reports sent from anyone who was not able to attend the meeting. You will be asked about your wishes or feelings or you can tell them to the  person chairing the meeting when you meet them before the conference.

What can Conference decide?

It can decide whether you need a Protection Plan to make things safer for you, and if so what should be included in your Protection Plan. A Protection Plan says what needs to change, what support is going to be given to help make these changes and who is responsible for these actions. 

The Conference will confirm the name of the Social Worker and the names of the people from other agencies who will support you and your family to achieve the recommendations made in the Protection Plan (this is called the Core Group).

Dates will be set for future meetings and a Review Child Protection Conference.

How long will my child protection plan last?

Until the workers agree that worries about you have gone and that you do not require a Protection Plan.

Can a Conference take me away from my parents?

The Conference can only make recommendations about how to make your situation safer for you.

What happens after a Conference?

If the Conference decides you are safe nothing else will happen, unless your family wants some support. Which the Social Worker will arrange with your family.

The Core Group will meet regularly with your Social Worker and parents or carers, and with you if you want to be involved in these meetings. They will talk about the Protection Plan and if there are any problems or worries.

You will receive a letter confirming the decisions that were made at the conference, the recommendations in the Protection Plan and the date of the next meeting. Later you will receive a full written record of the meeting.

What if you don’t agree with the Conference decisions or want to make a Complaint?

If you think any thing to do with conference is wrong or has been unfair to you, you should talk to your social worker or the Independent Reviewing Officer who chaired the meeting and who will talk to you after the meeting is finished.

If you are still unhappy you have the right to complain there is a leaflet called ‘How to Complain’ please ask for this.