If it is decided that a child is at risk of serious harm following a child protection enquiry, a child protection conference will take place.

About the conference

A child protection conference is a meeting between:

  • the parents or carers
  • the child or young person (where appropriate)
  • other children in the household (where appropriate)
  • professionals involved with the child, young person or family

It is important that the child’s parents or carers attend. 

During the meeting

The social worker prepared a report for the conference, outlining the concerns for the child. This report will be made available to the family before the meeting, so they have the opportunity to read it and be prepared for the conference. 

There may also be copies of other reports written by other professionals (except the police).

After these reports and any other relevant information has been shared and discussed, professionals will consider:

  • the risks to the child 
  • what is keeping the child safe 

Each professional will say if they think the child is still at risk of harm and if the child should have a child protection plan.

The conference cannot decide whether to remove a child from the family home. Only a court can make an order for children’s social care to do this. At the conference, recommendations will be made about what is best for the child. Sometimes this means applying to a court for an order to protect the child. 

Disagreeing with a decision

If the parents wish to complain about the way the conference was managed, the conference process or the outcome, they will need to write or speak to the chairperson. 

These concerns will be raised with a manager in the children’s social care team and the Council’s complaints manager.  

When a complaint is being considered, the decision made by the conference stands.

The outcome of a complaint will be that:

  • a second conference is held with a different chairperson, or
  • a review conference is brought forward, or
  • the decision made at the conference is upheld 

Complaints about individual agencies, their performance and provision (or non-provision) of services should be made in accordance with the relevant agency’s complaints management process.