Where Children’s Services believe that a child is at risk of suffering harm by the parent, it can convene a Child Protection Conference.
If you have been informed by a Social Worker that they are convening an initial Child Protection Conference, or alternatively, your child is currently subject to a Child Protection Plan, you can make an appointment with one of our solicitors who can explain and guide you through the process.
Reasons for a Child Protection Plan
A Social Worker can cite different reasons as to why a child is at risk of significant harm. A child is normally placed on a Child Protection Plan under one or more of the following categories:
- Physical harm
- Emotional harm
- Sexual harm
More specific examples of why a child can be made subject to a Child Protection Plan may include (but not exhaustive):
- The Social Worker believes that a parent is unable to meet the basic care needs of the child, for example, there are concerns about school attendance, home conditions, or how the child presents in terms of their cleanliness and hygiene.
- The child is showing behavioral difficulties or learning delays, and the Social Worker states they believe this is down to how the child is being parented.
- The parent has been in an abusive relationship and the child has been exposed and affected by this.
- The parent is struggling with an addiction and the child has been exposed to this.
- The child has been in contact with unsafe adults, such as a criminal offender or a sex offender.
What happens at the Child Protection Conference?
When you attend the Child Protection Conference, there will be a number of professionals present. The types of professionals who are present will depend on the circumstances of your case.
An Independent Reviewing Officer will always be present and will chair the meeting. A Social Worker and Team Manager will also be present, as well as staff from your children’s school. If relevant, health professionals (such as a Health Visitor) and the police may attend. A professional who is relevant to your child’s safety and wellbeing may also be invited to attend.
If it is decided that your child should be made subject to a Child Protection Plan, a number of targets will be put in place. There will be targets for the parents, and also targets for the Social Worker. For example, if professionals are worried about a child’s school attendance, a target may be that the child should attend school regularly. These targets will be regularly reviewed, and in order to come off the plan, the targets must be met.
If a Child Protection Plan is not adhered to, Children’s Services can escalate matters. They could issue you with a ‘Pre-Proceedings Letter’ or they could start court proceedings. This would mean Children’s Services feel that you are unable to keep your child safe, and believe they have enough evidence to remove your child from your care.
If it gets to this stage you should seek immediate legal advice.
Contact QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright and speak to a member of our Child Care Team on 01905 721600