The tasks of the initial child protection conference are to
- share relevant, information held by the participating agencies and by the family members present
- identify areas of difficulty/stress within the family
- identify areas of strength /support within the family
- consider the need for a child protection plan or, in the case of discussions whether or not there is a need for a child protection case conference.
- consider the need for a referral to the authority reporter
- consider whether or not a child is at risk of future harm
- establish a view as to whether child abuse has occurred or is likely to occur
- consider risks to any other children in the household
- consider whether emergency measures are required to protect the child.
- consider the need for other services
- Consider the need to commission a full integrated assessment, including an integrated chronology)
The initial child protection conference also undertakes the following in respect of core groups (core groups are small groups of inter-agency professionals and parents who meet regularly to implement and review the child protection plan):
- to identify core group members
- to specify who should convene, chair (this will normally be the team leader) and record
- to specify when they should meet
- to outline the framework of the child protection plan or, where possible, to make an explicit and written child protection plan which constitutes a written working agreement between all the parties to it.
- to stipulate the form of assessment needed to assess risks and to set out an agreed timescale
- to determine in urgent circumstances steps to be implemented post registration or specify a date for a speedy first core group meeting
- to set out the circumstances when they should return to conference.
Tasks of the review child protection conference in addition to the above are:
- to consider any new information
- to monitor the implementation of the child protection plan
- to review the level of risk
- to review the need for registration
- to determine if any further actions are required
Tasks of the pre-birth child protection conference:
- the co-ordinator, children services should consider convening a child protection conference about an unborn child if there appears to be risk of significant harm to the unborn child and/or the child when he/she is born
- the needs of an unborn child can be discussed at a child protection conference and a decision taken to implement a child protection plan, and for the unborn child’s name to be placed on the child protection conference. At a further child protection conference following the birth, the decision to register the child can be reviewed together for the need for a child protection plan.
The pre-birth conference can consider the following:
- tasks to be undertaken by agencies to support and prepare parents before the child’s birth
- whether there should be a prebirth child protection plan and registration on the child protection register
- seeking a child protection order at birth.
Parents or carers should be invited to a pre-birth child protection conference and should be fully informed and involved in planning for the child’s future, unless this would increase the risk of harm to the unborn child, for example, by prompting the family to avoid contact with ante-natal services or move out of the area.
Tasks of the transfer child protection conference:
- a transfer child protection conference considers arrangements to transfer cases when a family moves to another area.