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1.6.3 When to Convene a Child Protection Conference

SCOPE FOR THIS CHAPTER

This chapter gives guidance in regard to when to convene a Child Protection Conference.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure.

This chapter is currently under review.


Contents

  1. Initial Child Protection Conferences
  2. Pre Birth Conferences
  3. Review Child Protection Conferences - When to Convene

 
1. Initial Child Protection Conferences

“An initial child protection conference must be convened when it is believed that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm”. The London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure

The timing of an Initial Case Conference will depend on the urgency of the case and on the time needed to obtain relevant information about the child and family but should be convened within 15 days following initial enquiry. There needs to be adequate preparation and assessment but at the same time children who are at risk of Significant Harm should not be allowed to drift. For guidance on who should attend, see the London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Membership of Child Protection Conference and Involving Children and Family Members.

A child protection conference should be convened in the following circumstances. Note that this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Following Section 47 Child Protection Enquiries leading to an assessment that a child or unborn child may continue to suffer or be at risk of Significant Harm;
  • Where a child has been made subject of an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) has been taken into Police Protection and following enquiries it is believed that the child will suffer or be at risk of suffering Significant Harm (note that the is no such order as a Police Protection Order - see Children Act 1989 Section 44(2));
  • Where a child has been made subject of a court order as a result of suffering Significant Harm but has not been subject of a Child Protection Conference and the child is returned home as a result of withdrawal of proceedings or the court order is not renewed. The timing and appropriateness of holding a conference will take account of any Court Proceedings;
  • Where a child has abused another child and enquiries reveal that a child is suffering Significant Harm and there is a need for a protection plan in respect of the victim or the alleged abuser if they have been abused themselves;
  • When a child previously on the register for a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan is to return home from accommodation provided under Section 20, Children Act 1989;
  • Where a child who is looked-after away from home is subject of a Care Order or Interim Care Order and has been previously de-registered on the basis that they are looked-after away from home and:
    • There is a plan for the child to return home, for example under The Placement of Children with Parents etc Regulations 2011;
    • There is a plan for significant increased unsupervised contact with the abuser; or
    • An Interim Care Order is not renewed and the child is returned home.
  • Where a child currently on the register as a Child subject to a Child Protection Plan in another Authority moves with its family/carer to live in Redbridge. The Initial Conference should be held within 15 days of notification from the other Authority. Such as initial conferences may sometimes be referred to as a “Transfer Conference” but this is not a term that appears in “Working Together”;
  • Where an unborn child living in Redbridge, or in another Authority and about to move to live in Redbridge is judged in need of protection by a Child Protection Plan;
  • Where a child is to be born into the household of a child or children already subject of a child protection plan;
  • Where a child is found to be living in or has moved into a household that includes or is frequented by a person who is known to have abused a child, been convicted of an offence against a child or poses significant risk to a child. This will include Schedule 1 offenders under Child and Young Persons Act 1933 and under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 or more generally a person who poses a child protection risk to children.


2. Pre-Birth Conferences

“A pre-birth conference is an Initial Child Protection Conference concerning an unborn child. Such a conference has the same status and purpose and must be conducted in a comparable manner to an initial child protection conference” (London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Paragraph 4.1.1).

“Pre-birth conferences should always be convened where there is a need to consider if an inter-agency child protection plan is required. This decision will usually follow from a pre- birth assessment” (London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Paragraph 4.1.1).

“A pre-birth conference should be held where:

For guidance on who should attend the conference, see the London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Membership of Child Protection Conference and Involving Children and Family Members.


3. Review Child Protection Conferences - When to Convene

The London Child Protection Procedures state that “The first child protection review conference should be held within three months of the date of the initial child protection conference. Further reviews should be held at intervals of not more than six months for as long as the child remains the subject of a child (unless the initial conference was a pre-birth conference)". (London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure, Paragraph 4.1.11).

“Where necessary, reviews should be brought forward and held within 15 days where / when:

  • Child protection concerns relating to a new incident or allegation of abuse or Neglect have been sustained;
  • There are significant difficulties in carrying out the Child Protection Plan;
  • A child is to be born into the household of a child or children already subject of child protection plans;
  • An adult or child who poses a risk to children is to join, or commences regular contact with, the household;
  • There is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or family not anticipated at the previous conference and with implications for the safety of the child;
  • A child subject of a child protection plan is also looked after by the local authority and consideration is being given to returning them to the circumstances where care of the child previously aroused concerns (unless this step is anticipated in the existing child protection plan);
  • The core group believe that an early cancellation of the need for a child protection plan should be considered” (London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection Conferences Procedure.

A review child protection conference should also be convened within 15 days in the following circumstances. Note that this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Where further concerns arise of increased or additional risk to a child currently on the register;
  • In all cases where a significant change to previous child protection conference recommendations or the existing child protection plan is proposed;
  • When the whereabouts of a child subject to a Child Protection Plan are unknown;
  • Where the child continues to be at risk due to non-adherence to the child protection plan;
  • When a child previously on the child protection register is to return home from accommodation provided under Section 20, Children Act 1989;
  • Where a child who is looked-after away from home is subject of a Care Order or Interim Care Order and is presently on the register for a Child Subject to a Child Protection Plan and:
    • There is a plan for the child to return home, for example under The Placement of Children with Parents etc Regulations 2011;
    • There is a plan for significant increased unsupervised contact with the abuser; or
    • An Interim Care Order is not renewed and the child is returned home.
  • Where a child with a Child Protection Plan is found to be living in a household includes or is frequented by a person who is known to have abused a child, been convicted of an offence against a child or poses significant risk to a child. This will include Schedule 1 offenders under Child and Young Persons Act 1933 and under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 or more generally a person who poses a child protection risk to children.

End