Child Protection Review Conferences outcomes
What is a Child Protection Review Conference?
A first child protection review conference is held three months after an initial child protection conference. Usually this meeting is chaired by the same person who chaired the initial conference, and many of the same professionals will be invited to attend. Parents (and other involved family members) will also normally be invited to attend.
The purpose of the review conference is to look at how the child protection plan is working to promote and protect your child's welfare. This will include looking at how you are working with the professionals, how well you are following the child protection plan, whether or not your child is still considered to be at risk and how well you can care for, and protect, him/her.
All professionals invited to the review conference should produce a report explaining their view about any improvements or any further concerns (if any) about your child's situation.
Before you go to the review conference, it will help if you think beforehand about what has changed in your family situation and what a difference these changes have made for your child.
What may happen after a Child Protection Review Conference?
The Review Conference can agree one of three things:
- Your child is no longer suffering (or is no longer likely to suffer) significant harm: This means that they will no longer need to have a child protection plan. Most parents understandably feel very relieved when this happens, but it is worth thinking about whether you still want help to meet your child's needs. If it is decided that your child does need continuing support, a Child in Need plan could be made.
- Your child is still suffering (or is likely to suffer) significant harm: This means that that the child protection plan will remain in place and may be updated to make sure your child will be kept safe in the future. It is important that you say what you think about any changes to the plan and that you work with all the professionals involved with your child to follow this plan. There will then be another review conference in six months time. In addition to that, a legal planning meeting may be held.
- Concerns remain about your child's welfare and the case goes to Legal Planning: If despite the child protection plan, the social worker remains very worried about your child's safety and well-being, a legal planning meeting will be held so that the social worker and manager can take legal advice about what steps they should take to protect your child. This may include providing you with a further period of support or applying to court immediately to remove your child from your care. In either case they should send you a letter telling you what they plan to do and why. There are two types of letter they may send you:
- - a letter before proceedings, telling you what you can do (if anything) to stop court proceedings from happening; or
- - a letter of issue telling you that they are going to court anyway and there is nothing you can do to stop this.
If you receive one of these letters, it is really important that you see a solicitor specialising in child care law immediately and you should take the letter with you.