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Child protection conferences
A child protection conference is a meeting which has been arranged because there are concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child.
The purpose of the meeting is to decide if you, or your children, are at risk of being physically, sexually, or emotionally harmed or neglected.
The meeting will decide how everyone in your life is going to help children be safe and make their life better.
How can you participate?
Warrington Safeguarding Partnership actively encourages parents and young people to make their views, feelings and wishes known when attending the meeting. Your views are very important and will help make the right decisions about your future.
- you could attend the meeting, you will be supported to attend the full conference or part of the conference and you can have someone with you if that helps. The social worker and chairperson will speak to you about this before the meeting starts.
- you could ask someone who is attending to share your views or you can write it down, or make an audio recording or video clip that can be played at the meeting. You could draw a picture, send a PowerPoint presentation or any other media file.
- an advocate could be asked to attend and speak on your behalf.
Your social worker can help you choose the best way to participate in the conference.
Who else will be at the conference?
- the person who chairs the meeting
- someone who will type what is said
- a school health adviser or health care representative
- your social worker
- your social worker's manager
- a police officer who works with young people and their families
- someone from school/college
- we may invite other people who are important in your life
Your views are important and will be taken into account. All information discussed at the meeting is private and confidential, but it may be necessary to share some details with others so they can help protect you and your family.
Your social worker who has been visiting you has to write a report about all the things they know about you and your family. They will share with you the information in their report that you need to know. They will make suggestions about keeping the children in your family safe.
The chairperson will meet with you before the meeting starts. The chairperson will explain anything you are unsure about and answer any questions you may have. There may be something that you want some of the people attending the meeting to know, but do not want to or feel able to say it in front of other family members.
The chairperson may ask those people to leave for a short time, or may share your views in the meeting for you, if you do not want to speak in front of the other people. Before the meeting starts you will be able to choose where you want to sit in the meeting room before the other people are brought in.
All those present, including you, will be given a chance to tell everyone what you think about the concerns raised and to tell the meeting about your family, school and other things that are important to you.
If you do not understand anything that is said please tell the chairperson. At the end of the meeting the chairperson will give a short summary of what has been said and will then ask the other people attending for their opinion about the risk of harm. They will also ask you if you have anything further to say.
The conference can only decide whether or not children are suffering significant harm and the chairperson is responsible for making sure there is a child protection plan in place where this is the case. The child protection conference cannot decide that children should be removed from their parents care. However, there may be some circumstances when a conference may recommend this is considered by a Judge in the Family Court, where your views can be represented by a solicitor.
If the chairperson agrees that a child protection plan is needed, a social worker and a core group of people will be appointed to work with you and your family to keep you safe and protected. The conference will make suggestions around what should be in the child protection plan. The core group will work together with you to develop the most suitable plan that will have a positive impact for the wellbeing and safety of you and your family.
The chairperson will hold another conference in three months time to make sure everyone is working together and that the plan is working to make positive changes. The chairperson will then review the child protection plan every six months. The plan will continue until the risk of significant harm has been removed.
The conference and review unit is independent and can provide advice and support to anyone (professionals, family members and children) who has concerns about child protection or safeguarding issues. If you are unsure about where to seek advice, or have already sought advice and remain concerned please contact the unit directly.
If anyone involved in the child protection process is unhappy about the work of any agency, or the way you have been treated, you have the right to make a complaint through the Warrington Safeguarding Partnership complaints procedure.