What is a Core Group?
A Core Group is the group of family members and professionals who meet regularly if a Child Protection Conference makes a Child Protection Plan about you. The Core Group keeps checking the Child Protection Plan and makes sure that the things in it are happening so that you are kept safe. The chair (again the person who runs the meeting, not the thing you sit on) of the Core Group is usually your Social Worker
Who's at the Core Group Meeting?
A lot of the same people who go to the Child Protection Conference: parents/carers, other family members, your Social worker (and maybe their manager) and anyone else who has regular contact with you, usually someone from school/college, a medical professional like your school nurse or health visitor. Sometimes someone from the police might be there too. You can also attend if you want to, or you can ask for an advocate, or the Children's Rights Officer to attend for you and say what you want to be said. They can then report back to you what happened and what was agreed.
When do they happen?
The date for the first Core Group meeting is set at the Initial Child Protection Conference; sometimes it happens straight after the conference. The next meetings must take place at least every 6 weeks until you are no longer subject to a Child Protection Plan. The Core Group meetings should take around 1 hour, it's more informal than the Child Protection Conference, but is really important in making sure things are being done.
What happens at the Core Group?
Every Core Group meeting must always review (look over) and, if necessary, change the Child Protection Plan line by line. Your Social Worker should send the slightly changed Child Protection Plan to all the people who were at the meeting within 5 working days.
What if I don't like so many people talking about me?
That part is really hard and isn't nice for you at all. But in the past terrible things have happened to some children because people weren't talking to each other and so the law now says that all the professionals working with a child, who is subject to a child protection plan, have to share any information they have that is relevant. Remember that all the people at the meeting want you to be safe, you may not get on with all of them that well, but they all care. If you are attending a meeting you can leave at any point if you feel uncomfortable or upset. You can also give feedback to the Children's Rights Officer about how the meeting could be better for you and other young people.