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1.4.5 Other Types of Conference

RELATED CHAPTERS

Initial Child Protection Conferences Procedure

Review Child Protection Conferences Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2018. In Section 3, Pre-Birth Child Protection Conferences and Reviews, the timescales were amended and that section should be re-read.


Contents

1. Brought forward Review Conferences/Single Issue Conferences
2. Transfer in Child Protection Conference
3. Pre-Birth Child Protection Conferences and Reviews
  3.1 When to consider an Initial Child Protection Conference in Respect of an Unborn Baby
  3.2 Making an Unborn Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan


1. Brought forward Review Conferences/Single Issue Conferences

Consideration should always be given to bringing the date of a Review Child Protection Conference forward:

  • Where Child Protection concerns relating to a new incident or allegation of abuse have been substantiated;
  • Where professionals are concerned that the plan has not progressed and there has been a drift in work undertaken;
  • When there are significant difficulties in carrying out the formal Child Protection Plan;
  • Where another child is to be born into the household;
  • Where an individual who poses a risk to a child is to join or commences regular contact with the household;
  • When there is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or family not anticipated at the previous Child Protection Conference and where there are implications for the safety of the child;
  • When unsupervised contact is planned where this is not in the outline Child Protection Plan;
  • Where a child who is subject to a formal Child Protection Plan is Looked After by the Local Authority and consideration is being given to returning the child to the circumstances that led to the need for a Child Protection Plan if this has not previously been planned in a Conference;
  • Where the Core Group believes there is no longer a need for a formal Child Protection Plan;
  • Where the Independent Reviewing Officer or other professionals are concerned that there has been a drift in progressing the Child Protection Plan.

In all circumstances outlined above, a decision should be taken in consultation with the Independent Reviewing Officer.

The Brought Forward/Single Issue Child Protection Conference should be convened as soon as possible after the change has been identified and has the same status and purpose as any other Child Protection Conference and must be conducted in a comparable manner to a Review Child Protection Conference.


2. Transfer in Child Protection Conference

Where a child moves from one Local Authority area to another and it is agreed that case responsibility is to transfer, a Child Protection Conference must be held by the host Children’s Social Care within 15 working days of the child moving into the area. 

This has the same status and purpose as any other Child Protection Conference and must be conducted in a comparable manner to a Review Child Protection Conference.


3. Pre-Birth Child Protection Conferences and Reviews

3.1 When to Consider an Initial Child Protection Conference in Respect of an Unborn Baby

A Pre-Birth Conference is an Initial Child Protection Conference concerning an unborn child (see also Initial Child Protection Conference Procedure. Such a Conference has the same status and purpose as any other Child Protection Conference and must be conducted in a comparable manner to an Initial Child Protection Conference.

Pre-birth Conferences should always be considered where:

  1. A Pre-Birth Statutory Assessment under Section 47 investigation gives rise to concerns that an unborn child may be likely to suffer Significant Harm;
  2. A previous child has died or been removed from parent(s) and this may have been as a result of Significant Harm;
  3. Where a child is to be born into a family or household where other children are subject to a Child Protection Plan (unless the Child Protection Plan is then discontinued);
  4. An individual who poses a risk to a child resides in the household or is known to be a regular visitor.

This Conference should be held no later than 30 weeks gestation or within 15 working of the Strategy Discussion / Meeting. Where there is a known likelihood of a premature birth, the Conference should be held earlier. This may be combined with a Review Conference, on a child subject to a Child Protection Plan, as a separate issue and must be reviewed within 3 months if the child is considered to be suffering from, or likely to suffer, Significant Harm.

Those who normally attend an Initial Child Protection Conference must be invited. In addition representatives of the Midwifery and relevant Neo-Natal services should also be invited. It is essential that Midwifery services are represented at the Conference.

Parents or carers should be invited as they would be to other Child Protection Conferences and should be fully involved in plans for the child’s future.

3.2 Making an Unborn Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan

If a decision is made to agree a Child Protection Plan for the unborn child, the main cause of concern must determine the category for the Plan to be agreed. The baby will be recorded as “unborn” on the child’s record and the name entered without delay after birth. In this case the expected date of delivery should be added to the unborn child’s record and updated with the name and correct birth date following the child’s birth.

The protective and preventative work should commence to ensure safety for the pre-birth Conference with the appointment of a lead social worker and a Core Group to develop the Child Protection Plan. It is essential that the Core Group produce a detailed plan for the birth plan and for discharge arrangements. A copy of this should be available to the parent(s) and other Core Group members as well as the relevant midwifery and obstetrics services. The Core Group must be established and meet if at all possible prior to the birth and certainly prior to the baby’s return home after a hospital birth. Before a baby can be discharged from hospital a pre-discharge meeting must take place (a pre-discharge meeting does not replace a Core Group meeting).

Where a Pre-Birth Child Protection Conference is held and the child is not subject to a Child Protection Plan but it is considered that the child will be In Need, the Conference should make recommendations in respect of support for the baby and family.

Where the mother of an unborn baby moves from the area then the tracing procedures for any child should be followed.

Points to be included in the Child Protection Plan are:

  • Birth plan, including who will be the birthing partner and who can have contact during the hospital stay;
  • Identification of the Core Group members, including lead social worker, co-worker, Midwifery Services, Health Visitor, Parent(s) and others as necessary;
  • Specifications regarding any continuing assessment in terms of what has to be done and by whom;
  • Support services required, including the period the mother is in hospital;
  • That if concerns arise at a Core Group meeting, the Core Group should consider the need for an immediate return to a Child Protection Conference;
  • Contingency arrangements if the Child Protection Plan is not succeeding;
  • That legal advice should be sought where necessary;
  • The Hospital to have contact details of the lead social worker/Team Manager;
  • The Hospital to inform Children’s Social Care when the baby is born;
  • The expectation that the parent(s) will follow medical advice regarding discharge of the baby;
  • Specific action required to ensure the protection of the child in the period between birth and the Review Conference, including the time the baby is in hospital;
  • The name of any identified person who should not have contact with the baby;
  • A statement to say whether the baby should go home with parent(s) or not;
  • Where the plan is that the baby should not go home with the parent(s) the action to be taken should there be any attempt to remove the baby from the hospital, including consideration of Police Protection or Emergency Protection Order;
  • Where the baby is not to go home with the parent(s), the contact arrangements and whether this is to be supervised and by whom;
  • Where appropriate, details of alternative carers;
  • That a copy of the protection plan is available and the Children’s Social Care Emergency Duty Team are aware of the plan;
  • That if the baby is transferred or placed in a different hospital, a copy of the Child Protection Plan is to be sent immediately to the new venue.

The Pre-birth Conference must set a date for the Review Child Protection Conference. The first Review Pre-birth Child Protection Conference will be scheduled to take place within 3 months of the Initial Child Protection Conference or before the birth of the child.

Exceptionally, where the Pre-birth Conference decides to wait longer than 10 working days after the birth, there should be a statement in the Record of the Pre-birth Conference as to why this was agreed.

Where an unborn baby has been made subject of a Child Protection Plan, in the event of foetal death, still birth or death immediately subsequent to delivery, the lead social worker will ensure that this is recorded on the child’s record. The case will be considered by LSCB Serious Case Review subcommittee (see Serious Case Reviews Procedure) to decide whether further action is necessary.

End