What is a Child Protection Conference?
If Children's Social Care think that you have been injured or harmed (which can be emotional) or are not safe then a meeting called an Initial Child Protection Case Conference is arranged. The people at the meeting talk about whether you are at significant risk of harm (serious risk of something bad happening to you).
Who will be there?
Your parents/carers, Social Workers, health professionals (e.g. School Nurse, Health Visitor), Someone from your school or college (e.g Head teacher or Deputy) and sometimes someone from the police attend the meeting. Parents can bring someone to support them (or advise them) to the meeting.
The person who runs the meeting and makes sure that everyone gets a chance to speak is called 'the chair' (but you're not allowed to sit on them). The chair is independent, they don't work in a team with the Social workers, but they do work for the County Council. Most of the time the chair is an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO).
Can I go?
If you would like to go that would be great! This meeting is meant to help to keep you safe, so your opinions really matter. If you are aged 10+ you should be able to come to some, or all of the Child Protection Conference. You can bring someone to help or support you to the meeting, or you can have an advocate to come with you. There is someone in the council called a Children's Rights Officer whose job it is to listen to what you say and help you to say it in the meeting, or say it for you if that's what you want. If you don't want to attend the meeting but would like the Children's Rights Officer to say the things you want to say that's fine too. You can contact the Children's Rights Officer here.
What will happen?
The meeting happens in a meeting room in an office building. The chair will meet with the parents and you before the meeting to explain how the meeting works and what happens if the professionals think a child protection plan is needed.
During the meeting everyone will get a chance to speak and say what they think, the chair will ask lots of questions because it's their job to make sure that all the important information is heard. There will be someone at the meeting writing everything down, these notes will then be properly typed up and sent to everyone who was at the meeting.
Once everyone has been heard the professionals (not the parents/carers, supporters, advocates or you) take a vote about whether they think a child protection plan is needed to keep you safe, or not.
What does it mean for me?
If a child protection plan is not needed another type of plan might be put together.
If a plan is needed then it will set out what needs to happen, who will do it and when it will be done to keep you safe.
The Child Protection Case Conference can only decide whether a Child Protection Plan is put in place. It cannot decide to remove you from your parent/carer.
The information shared at the Child Protection Conference is confidential and is only shared with other people who will be working with the family.