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Child Protection Conferences - A Guide for Children and Young People

What is a Child Protection Conference?
The conference is a meeting that is arranged by Social Services when people who work with you and your family are worried about you. The people at the meeting talk about what is happening in your life, with your family and what needs to be done to make sure you will be protected from harm.

Who will be at the conference?
Your parents/carers will be asked to be there, and maybe another member of your family. All the adults who work with you and know you will be asked to come, to help the conference make the best decisions. This will include people you know, like your social worker, your teacher and someone from health - like a school nurse or doctor. There will also be people you may not have met before - maybe someone from the police or a solicitor. There is a person, called the 'Chair', who leads the meeting and another person who takes notes. The Chair can meet with you before the conference to talk you through what happens and so that you can ask any questions you might have.

Can I come to the conference?
Young people aged over 12 are invited to the conference, so long as the adults involved agree it is okay. It might be for all of the conference, which can last between one and two hours, or just for some of it. Your social worker will discuss this with you.
Because you are important, you may be encouraged to attend the conference, but you do not have to come if you don't want to. However, it would be helpful if you could talk to your social worker about your views - or write it down for the conference. If you wish to, you may speak privately with the Children's Rights Officer.

Will people listen to what I have to say?
You are a very important person and your views will be shared with everyone at the meeting and it will be important they consider what you say when planning how to best help you. The conference is about you so it is important that everyone knows what you think - even if they cannot always do what you want.

What will the conference do?
In the conference, information will be shared about you, your family, what is good in your life, and what is worrying people. If things are happening in your life that people think may harm you, the conference will look at ways to help. The conference will decide whether or not you are at risk of harm and if this is likely to continue. The people at the conference - such as social worker, teacher, police, and a health worker - will decide whether or not a Child Protection Plan needs to be put in place.

What is the Child Protection Plan?
The Child Protection Plan is produced when a conference has decided there is a need to have a plan to keep children safe from harm. Important people who work with you will have to work together, with you and your parents/carers, to make sure that the plan keeps you safe and well. If you are made subject of a Protection Plan , regular meetings will be held - called 'core groups' - to talk about the plan and make sure that everything that should be done is done to keep you safe.

Can the conference decide I will be taken away from my parents/carers?
No - this is something that many children worry about when a conference is called. The conference decides what protection plan is needed to keep you safe and well and how everyone will work together to ensure this happens. A conference can only make a plan that looks at how to make your life safer and better for you.

Only a court can order that children no longer live with their parents and this would only be in very harmful situations; most children who have a Child Protection Plan stay at home with their parents/carers.

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Modified: 2012-01-25
Published: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:37:32
Author: Morna Sloan
Editor: zzzMorna.Sloan
RDCMS ID: 15434