It makes a huge difference to the safety of the child if professionals are able to work openly with parents. Their contribution at child protection conference is therefore crucial to successful planning.
However parents often feel overwhelmed. It is important that they are properly prepared and supported.
How to do it
All family members attending the conference must be properly prepared by the social worker. As well as involving them in the whole process of the child protection enquiry this means:
- Remembering the period between investigation and child protection conference is stressful for families and the support they receive could determine their view of professional staff,
- giving them a copy of the report, in a form they can understand, in good time for them to consider it,
- explaining why the report says what it does,
- including their views in the report, and
- explaining to them who will be at the conference and what will happen.
- The social worker must ensure that the child’s views are represented at the initial child protection conference and this will be minuted. From then on the role should be delegated to a relevant person and this decision should be made at each conference and noted in the minutes.
- More effective decisions can be made by child protection conferences where complete information is available to attendees. In recognition of this all relevant information will be shared;
- a typed report including a chronology of significant events detailing involvement with the child and significant adults in the child’s life must be provided by health, education and social work services,
- a typed report including a chronology of significant events detailing involvement with the child and significant adults in the child’s life should be provided by every other professional who attends the conference,
- the invitation letter will give the date by which the report should be received by the chair,
- reports should be shared with parents at least one day before the conference because parents will need time to consider the report and discuss it with their advocates.
Provision of Reports
A typed report, including a chronology, detailing involvement with the child and significant adults in the child’s life will be submitted by each agency invited to attend the child protection conference.
- Initial child protection conference reports will be submitted as soon as possible prior to the conference
- Review child protection conference reports will be submitted ten working days prior to the scheduled date of the conference (except where the urgent arrangement of a conference does not permit)